A Full Employment Act

“We are committed to doing everything we can to build a full employment economy, where everyone has a job that pays enough to raise a family and live in dignity with a sense of purpose.” – Democratic Party platform

This is the most powerful sentence in the Democratic Party platform, with language that echoes the “Economic Bill of Rights” proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1944 State of the Union Address.  The fulfillment of this platform pledge would make FDR’s vision a glorious reality and dramatically improve the quality of life for tens of millions of American workers and their families.

The only way to build a true full employment economy is through “New Deal” type jobs programs that would put people to work on socially-useful projects, with the federal government acting as the employer of last resort.  There is no such legislation in Congress at the present time.

“The Full Employment Act of 1945” included a federal job guarantee, but the job guarantee was negotiated out of the bill before it was finally passed as the “Employment Act of 1946.”

The need to move to clean, renewable energy as rapidly as possible, as well as to replace and modernize other parts of our infrastructure, would make providing socially-useful jobs and moving to true full employment relatively simple.

Paying workers enough to “raise a family and live in dignity” is a matter of simple fairness. Far too many people are working two or three jobs and still struggle to make ends meet.  

President Reagan once proposed replacing welfare with “workfare.”  This program would largely pay for itself with the money saved from welfare payments to able-bodied workers. Combined with the economic value of the products and services produced by these public sector workers, it is likely that a program of true full employment would pay for itself and reduce or eliminate the need to redistribute income.

The pursuit of happiness is among the natural rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, which goes on to say that securing these rights is among the reasons we institute governments.  True full employment at decent wages would dramatically increase the chances of success in the pursuit of happiness for people who are presently burdened with insufficient income.

© 2018 Gary Winston Apple.

Please note: parts of this page are excerpts from a soon-to-be published book by Winston Apple.  The contents of this page are copyrighted.  Permission to quote from this page and/or to refer people to this page is hereby granted, provided that attribution is given and/or the copyright notice (above) is included.