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Why not a jobs program?

August 1, 2010

Economist Robert Shiller’s article in today’s New York Times presents a pretty damning commentary on Obama’s stimulus efforts and asks why we don’t just create the jobs directly.  He points out that the cost of hiring one million workers at $30,000 would be just $30 billion or 4% of the entire stimulus program.

Let’s take it a bit further.  The Department of Labor says 14.6 million Americans were unemployed in June.  If a jobs program were created for all the unemployed costing $30,000 per worker per year, then the annual cost would be $438 billion.

Sounds steep but it could in fact be fully financed by a moderate wealth tax on the ever rising aristocratic class.  The Federal Reserve calculates total household net worth to be about $54 trillion, of which 34% is estimated to be controlled by the top 1%.  That’s over $18 trillion of wealth.  A wealth tax of just 2.39% on the net worth of this extremely privileged minority would cover the annual cost of eliminating unemployment!

That such an idea would never see the light of day within our main stream discourse is clear evidence of the class nature of our society.  We live in a plutocracy in which money dominates all – politics, the press, education, economics, our very culture.

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