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 single 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.
The only way to build such an 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 before the bill was passed, the job guarantee was negotiated out of the bill, which was finally passed as the “Employment Act of 1946.”
Legislation addressing the climate crisis has been introduced (see page on “Climate Crisis”), combined with legislation related to infrastructure programs, would provide more than enough jobs to make true full employment rather easy to achieve for the foreseeable future.
Substantial benefits would flow from true full employment. A great deal of crime, drug abuse and general unhappiness stem from people not having sufficient income. The vast majority of acts of terrorism and senseless violence are perpetrated by young men who lack sufficient income to raise a family.
Combined with a much improved and refocused system of public education, living in dignity, with a sense of purpose, is much easier when people do not have to struggle to make ends meet. The pursuit of happiness is among the natural rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. True full employment at decent wages would dramatically increase the chances in that pursuit for people who are presently burdened with insufficient income.