Three people running for president are worthy of your consideration. What do they say they will do about employment?
In March, Hillary Clinton, later to become the Democratic Party nominee, put forth an economic plan. She asked to roll back tax breaks for American companies moving jobs out of this country (excellent idea, and in the right direction), and create a new levy for those taking their headquarters overseas (also good, since many people work at these offices). She wanted to raise the minimum wage (bad – we don’t want to reduce the number of positions right now), and upped her proposed floor from $12 to $15 later in the campaign (even worse). She thinks employers should be required to pay for family leave (wrong – let them compete by offering these benefits voluntarily), and proposed the College Affordability Plan, to refinance student debt and provide free or discounted tuition to all university enrollees in need (not sure – seems off beam in principle, but could stave off a huge bubble in the form of what is now almost $1.4 trillion in US student debt). Over the summer she spoke of a National Infrastructure Plan, costing $27 billion per year to build, repair, and improve highways, bridges, airports, water mains, and more. That last item is the best of the candidates’ employment proposals, and I am glad to see more people suggesting it.
Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson believes that those in government, including himself, do not create jobs – they come from, as his website puts it, “entrepreneurs, businesses, and economic prosperity.” Accordingly, he emphasizes deregulation as the best tool to achieve employment growth – he and running mate William Weld credit that for the unusual improvement achieved in joblessness in New Mexico and Massachusetts, where they were governors. Unfortunately, as much as I like him, and am impressed by his and Weld’s succeeding this way in their states, that course seems insufficient. I hope, and expect, that a President Johnson would take more aggressive steps if we had a recession.
Green Party nominee Jill Stein expects to generate what she calls “millions of jobs” by changing energy use, nationally and completely, to renewable sources by 2030. She also would get more people working by “investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.” She considers employment to be “a right,” and says we should “create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work.” I would feel better about her basis for putting more people to work if she were not against petroleum and natural gas-based sources, fields with many jobs, so much. Since hardly every person who wants to be employed needs a “living wage,” I can’t support her there either. However, her opinion on people’s entitlement to work does match one of the five comprehensive jobs-crisis solutions.
Those are your choices. My views are above, but others also have strong, and sometimes differing, ones on these initiatives’ merits, how we could pay for them, and on the effect they would have on budget deficits and the national debt. Which of these solutions are realistic and which are not? How much are we willing to spend to get more Americans working? Those are questions for you to answer, as you prepare for your November 8th decision.