Full employment and the candidates’ agendas

October 19th, 2015 at 8:03 am

The presidential debates are generating an important discussion about which public policies will help to reduce inequality, with D’s focusing on tamping down excesses in financial markets, higher minimum wages, balancing work/families, college affordability, paid for by progressive taxation, and R’s going with trickle-down tax cuts, as is their wont.

Over at WaPo, I argue that a) we’re not hearing enough about the path to full employment, and b) that’s a more bipartisan goal–at least it should be–than you might imagine.

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5 comments in reply to "Full employment and the candidates’ agendas"

  1. Peter K. says:

    I would question your proposition that full employment and shared prosperity is a bipartisan priority. See Kalecki for some possible reasons why it is not.


    But I agree 1000 percent about your point. I was disappointed that Clinton and Sanders didn’t talk about full employment macro: using the Fed and government spending and investment to ensure everyone has a job and that labor markets are tight. As you write, the prosperous post-War years had this 70 percent of the time.

  2. Tom in MN says:

    You could have also noted that the claims of 4% or higher GDP growth by Bush and others would necessarily put us at full employment. Not that how they propose to get there would work.

  3. wendy beck says:

    I’m hoping we have a debate solely about employment, because as much as I would like to hear the candidates talk about their goals to full employment, I’d like to hear which of them, if any, talk about the REAL employment situation today which includes more and more gig-economy type jobs with all the wage insecurity that entails.

    I saw an op-ed where someone from Uber argued that the safety net needs to be bigger. Who will pay for that? All of us? Will the companies that benefit from these companies with no benefits (and all the risk going to the worker) pay at least their fair share (possibly more) for the enormous profits they make from others’ risk taking?

    I want to see if we have a candidate who has thought these new issues through at least as much as I have.

  4. Smith says:

    If you think that inequality, debt, and low pay are not actually causes of slack in the economy, and unemployment, you might be disappointed in Sanders emphasis on those issues. I seriously doubt he’s planning to use new taxes on the rich and Wall Street to cut the national debt, and give tax breaks to the middle class. It’s more likely he will actually follow the agenda laid out on his website to fund education, spend on infrastructure, and employ young americans.

    While everyone promises programs to create jobs, only Sanders has a realistic way to fund them, tax the rich.

    • jonny bakho says:

      A tax on the rich will go nowhere against a GOP “NoNewTaxes” pledge. Electing Sanders won’t help. Electing a wave of state and local Dems might help.