Most workers work too much and too hard, only to benefit the idle rich. Thus, we support reducing both working hours and capital’s share of wealth. Yet evidence suggests exclusion from work causes problems beyond the absence of income, including higher mortality and suicide rates, social isolation and a permanent decline in well-being.
To address these evils, we echo Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for “a job to all … who want to … and are able to work,” and “an income for [those] not able to work.” Specifically, we support a federally funded, locally driven job guarantee (JG), which, like programs envisioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and economists at the Levy Economics Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, commits the federal government to guarantee a living wage job with good benefits, including healthcare, to anyone who wants or needs one.
Among other benefits, a JG creates a space for work focused on dignity, self-actualization and public purpose, divorced from concerns of profiteers. There is no shortage of meaningful labor, from infrastructure repair to care work to artistic revitalization. Combating climate change alone requires massive public mobilization to transform energy and food production, restore ecosystems, and defend frontline communities.