Senator Bernie Sanders is ready to break new ground with his proposal for a federal jobs guarantee. The unannounced plan would guarantee a $15 dollar minimum wage as well as health benefits to every adult American “who wants or needs one.”
“The goal is to eliminate working poverty and involuntary unemployment altogether,” Darrick Hamilton an economist at The New School told the Post.
The plan would essentially create a minimum threshold for the jobs market. In theory, any private sector job that paid less well or offered less ample benefits would go unfilled, as the prospective worker would defer to a federal job. Thus, raising the pay and benefits offered by the private sector.
What remains to be seen is how the proposal would affect the jobs market if implemented. Increased inflation, faster automation, and the overall cost of the proposal linger as possible side effects of the bill. Sanders hasn’t announced how he plans to pay for it yet.
The plan has been met tepid support from some Democratic Senators and cautious skepticism from others.
“I’m intrigued by the notion,” Senator Tim Kaine, the Virginia Senator and former Vice Presidential pick, told the Weekly Standard. “I haven’t dug into [guaranteed jobs plans] yet, just in terms of the committees I’m on, you know you do have to prioritize your time here,” he said before adding that it was a good thing that Democrats have bold ideas.
Populist Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown was less eager to speak on the record regarding the bill simply saying “I’ve got to go,” before ducking into an elevator. Both Senator’s Kaine and Brown are up for election this year and may not want to back such a controversial bill prior to November.
Despite their reluctance to back the bill prior to the 2018 elections, a number of potential 2020 candidates have announced support for the jobs guarantee.
“If Republicans could give $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest among us, why can’t we invest a similar amount in a guaranteed jobs plan for regular Americans who are unemployed and willing to work to better their local community,” Senator Gillibrand Tweeted prior to Sander’s announcement.
Senator Cory Booker announced a similar bill located in 15 localities across the country as a means of testing the effectiveness of the proposal.
Ultimately, Sanders is leading the pack in terms of how quickly he wants to move forward as other politicians are looking to take a more cautious approach.
“Certainly what Senator Sanders has been talking about for quite some time is trying to build growth and economic progress and giving everybody a chance to get ahead and focusing on the middle class,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden told journalists. “I’ll have to hear what he has to say.”