Did you ever wonder why some people almost automatically think you disagree with them even before they know what you have in common? I think all of us have much more in common than issues that we disagree upon.
Let’s try this. I believe in economic justice for everyone. I want to see everyone have what they need to support themselves and their family. There is no reason for anyone to be without a home, food, employment, education and health care. I’ve said it and I believe it. Do you have any reason why people should be without all of this, not to mention suffering and dying while going without these necessities?
Consider, if you will, why do millions go without so many basic needs when the federal government has the means to provide for all? Don’t get me wrong. All these needs can’t be met in the blink of an eye, but can’t we agree that the federal government has a public purpose, and that purpose is not being met?
Let’s look at one family in Boulder City, or anywhere in this country. Pretend we have a neighbor with three kids. Parents work, two kids are in school and one is in day care. Both parents have to work just to make ends meet. This already creates problems since they have no car and rely on public transportation, which is far from adequate in these parts, or rides from friends. They can’t afford to use Uber or Lyft but have to “bite the bullet” and take it when they can’t get to work any other way.
Now, consider that we haven’t even thought about getting the youngest kid to day care and the others off to school. What happens when one of the kids is sick? What happens when school or day care is closed on a day when parents have to work? Where do the kids stay? Does one parent take off work? That’s not something the parents can afford.
Before anyone walks out the door to go make a paycheck-to-paycheck living, there is issue after issue to be taken into account about what’s got to be done to get to that job. Think about the effort it requires to simply get up each morning and have all of this and much more smack you right in the face.
Daunting? That’s too mild a word for me.
Yet, this is how far too many live their daily lives. I went through years of worrying and agonizing about these things because of job insecurity for myself and my husband and it didn’t matter that I had a good education and a college degree. I just couldn’t go to the private sector and say, “Hey, I have great skills in a variety of areas, pick me!” The private sector doesn’t work that way.
What if the public purpose included funding for a federal job guarantee for everyone wanting a job? Congress appropriates funding for what they deem needed and/or to help them in their quest to keep their job. So why not do the same for the rest of the country?
A federal job guarantee is not about “busy” work jobs. A federal job guarantee would provide funding for meaningful work in local communities, jobs like paying people, at a livable wage with benefits, to care for their elderly or sick parents/relatives, or young children. If the community needed tradespeople for projects in the community, those jobs would be available. The list could be as long as the community had needs. The public purpose would be paying people to work, not paying them to remain unemployed.
Economic justice for all is only one issue that needs our thought and examination. We should make a Green New Deal that includes a federal job guarantee and provides economic justice a public purpose priority.
A federal job guarantee does not say the government will be the only employer. A demand for a federal job guarantee tells Congress to appropriate funding for it because millions need and want work. The government serves the public purpose. The private sector is in business for profit, not the public purpose.
If you believe in economic justice for all, read this by Pavlina Tcherneva: https://www.pavlina-tcherneva.net/job-guarantee-faq.
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She is the national outreach director for Real Progressives. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-339-9082.