A Main Street Jobs Agenda
John Cavanagh and David Korten
Putting more money in the hands of those who already have jobs so they can buy more Chinese imports does very little to put Americans to work in good jobs that pay good wages
Most Americans are now waking up from the Thanksgiving holiday and the bruising Washington battles of a failed congressional "supercommittee" with a giant hangover. The hangover results from the lack of clear answers to the most important question facing most of us: Where are the jobs that our children, our communities, and our nation so desperately need?
Neither major national political party has a credible plan for putting America to work. Republicans generally argue that freeing Wall Street and the wealthy from regulation and taxes is the path to job creation. But we've tried that and wound up with sky-high Wall Street profits and bonuses at the expense of working people and Main Street businesses.
Democrats are more likely to see a need for appropriate regulation, a progressive tax system, and government stimulus spending. But both parties ignore the fact that putting more money in the hands of those who already have jobs so they can buy more Chinese imports does very little to put Americans to work in good jobs that pay good wages.
The two of us are the principal authors of a new report that offers a seven-point jobs plan that builds on a past American success story.
The economy we envision builds on the 1950s Main Street economy that created the American middle class and made our nation the world leader in industry and technology. That economy was a direct result of effective struggles by workers during the Great Depression to limit Wall Street power and hold it democratically accountable to Main Street needs and interests.
The government also raised taxes to pay for the GI Bill and other jobs programs that reduced inequality and created a vast middle class. This arrangement served America well for more than 30 years.
Then what happened? In the late 1970s, a well-funded Wall Street campaign began to roll back the rules and programs that created the middle class. After the election of President Ronald Reagan, an all-out assault on regulation, unions, and social safety nets shifted economic and political power from Main Street economies accountable to the interests of local people and communities to a global corporate-ruled Wall Street economy accountable only to itself.
These shifts laid the foundation for the 2008 financial crash and a massive wave of unemployment, foreclosures, and depressed wages. African Americans and Hispanics, few of whom ever enjoyed middle-class prosperity, have been particularly hard hit.
The Occupy movement has shifted the spotlight back onto an unaccountable Wall Street as the source of the economic failure that has weakened the nation and reduced millions of Americans to lives of desperation. This opens space for a much-needed national debate about what is required to put Americans to work rebuilding American strength and prosperity in a 21st-century world.
Beyond just creating jobs, we need to help people shift from jobs that are harmful or simply unproductive to jobs that address currently unmet needs.
Examples include the transition from jobs in military industries to jobs in environmental remediation and elder care, and from jobs guarding prisons to jobs rehabilitating ex-offenders. We need to shift the resources we're squandering marketing junk food to children to teaching them, from mining coal to installing and maintaining solar panels, and from building an ever-increasing number of automobiles to expanding public transportation. More broadly, we need to shift from mining to recycling, from growing urban sprawl to retrofitting cities for sustainable living, and from financial speculation to the local financing of productive enterprises.
The structure of the 1-percent economy concentrates power in Wall Street institutions that primarily serve the richest 1 percent of humanity. An economy that works for all must distribute power equitably and democratically among people who share a vision of a world that works for all.
The time has come to shift from a Wall Street-driven economy to a Main Street-driven one built upon successful, independent, locally owned, human-scale enterprises.
John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies, and David Korten, board chair of YES! Magazine, are the principal authors of Jobs: A Main Street Fix for Wall Street's Failures, a New Economy Working Group report.
- Originally published by Other Words
- White House Reiterates Urgency to Renew Payroll Tax Cut Bill
- Homegrown Obstacles to the Economic Recovery
- Does Extending Jobless Benefits Help the Economy?
- Men Continue To Fare Badly in This Economy
- Public Blames Congress, Not Obama, For Sour Economy
- Restore the Basic Bargain
- A Main Street Jobs Agenda
- Who Says Wall Street Isn't Hurting?
- Road Map to a Housing Rebound
- Housing Prices Drop Back to 2003 Levels
- GOP 2012 Candidates Split on Payroll Tax Cut
- We Need to Focus on the 99 Percent
- A More Permanent Solution Is Needed
- Keynesian Policies Have Failed
- Many Time-limited Tax Breaks Never Die
- A Strong Recovery Remains Elusive
- An Economic Loser in the Long Run
- Extending Payroll Tax Cut Will Extend U.S. Debt
- Jobs Report: A Glimmer of Hope for the Housing Market?
- Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.6 Percent
- Beige Book Shows Stronger Growth, but Europe a Major Threat
- What Happens If We End the Fed?
- Online Shopping Deals Hurt State Budgets
- 5 Reasons the Economy Will Be Better in 2012
- Occupy the Budget
- Unemployment Benefits Extension an Economic Booster
- Are Employers to Blame for the Skills Gap?
- Drop in Jobless Claims Adds to Optimism About Broader Recovery
- Larger Temporary Workforce Could Be New Normal
- Americans Not Moving Around Like They Used To
- Home Sales Up But Financing Issues Block Bigger Growth
- FHA Loan Limits Get Boost, but Will It Help Housing Market?
- Are Things Looking Up for the Housing Market?
- Good News in Housing Starts, But No Turnaround
- Middle-Class Neighborhoods Disappearing
- America's Real Poverty Rate
- Luck Matters
- Major Economies Headed for Slowdown
- Top Democratic Governor Accuses Republicans of Neglecting Economy
- Deficit Is Greatest Security Threat
- Cutting Back on Defense Spending Will Make the World Safer
- It Is Time for Discipline, Defense
- Defense Spending Not to Blame for Deficit
- Military Already Underfunded Thanks to Obama
- Cutting Defense Spending Is Short-sighted
- Reasonable Ways to Cut Defense Budget
- Cutting Military Spending Does Not Mean Cutting Defense
- Cuts to Defense Budget Might Be Inevitable But Pentagon Knows Best
- Is the National Security Complex Too Big to Fail?
- Seniors and the Deficit: Why working longer isn't part of the solution
- The Coming Collision
- A Fair Tax That Really Is One
- An Idea Dysfunctional Washington More Than Happy to Let Die
- Dear Average American: It's All Your Fault
- America's Growing Income Gap by the Numbers
- Wall Street Is Back to Its Old Tricks
- 7-in-10 Blame Economy for Hiring Freeze
- Grim Warnings for the Deficit 'Super Committee'
- Consequences of a Debt Committee Stuck in Neutral
- Is the Rising Star of U.S. Manufacturing Fading?
- Can Foreign Buyers Save the U.S. Housing Market?
- Consumers Spooked, But Still Spending (For Now)
- The Recession's Impact on Baby Boomer Retirement
- Cutting Taxes for the Rich Never Ends Well
- Secret of the Flat Tax
- Current Tax Code Is Confusing
- Flat Tax Would Eliminate 'Crony Capitalism'
- Flat Tax Would Introduce New Problems
- Flat Tax Unites Americans
- Flat Tax Unleashes Economic Growth
- Flat Tax Shifts Burden to the Middle Class
- Flat Tax Will Benefit Only the Rich
- Jobs Report Disappoints, but Unemployment Falls to 9 Percent
- Fed Stands Pat, But Signals Darker Days Ahead
- Young Adults Suffering More Financially than Older Generations
- The Perverse Side Effect of the Euro
- Equal Taxation for Wealth and Work
- Not All Taxes Have to Hurt
- GDP Up: Will Recession Fear Fade as Economy Shows Signs of Life?
- Measuring Economic Progress
- Great Recession Means a Diminished American Dream for Young Adults
- Inflation Could Help Flagging Economy
- Home Economics
- Skills Gap Plagues American Manufacturing Industry
- Beige Book Says Economic Recovery Still Slow. What Now?
- The Ranks of the Underemployed Continue to Grow
- More Americans Falling Behind On Mortgages
- Fed Created A Recipe for Disaster in Housing Market
- The Fed Caves to the Whims of Congress
- Federal Reserve is No Longer Beyond Influence
- Blame Bernanke and Federal Reserve for Economic Crisis
- Fed Saved Economy but Did Little to Rein in the 1 Percent
- For Better or Worse, Fed Is Just Doing Its Job
- Flat-Tax Fraud and Why America Needs a Truly Progressive Tax
- The Broken Contract: Inequality and American Decline
- The Wisdom of Retrenchment: America Must Cut Back to Move Forward
- Shortchanging Our Paychecks
- Unemployment Drops Sharply in October
- Recession Fears Fade But Euro Debt Crisis Still Looms
- Haves and Have-Nots: Cities with Highest and Lowest Poverty Rates
- Is the Economy Better Off Without Washington?
- How to Rein In Healthcare Costs
- Why Mortgage Rates Are Rising
- Industry Must Do its Part to Educate Workforce of the Future
- Jobs Council Issues Growth Proposals, Acknowledges Dysfunction
- September Jobs Report a Pleasant Surprise
- US Economic Woes Put China in the Political Crosshairs
- A Devalued Renminbi Makes Wealthier Americans
- Sluggish America Can Still Be a World Leader
- Behind Europe's Debt Crisis Lurks Another Wall Street Bailout
- United States - South Korea Trade Deal Win-Win for Jobs and Economy
- Obama's Trade Deal Delays Have Cost Jobs
- Reconsider Dodd-Frank, Piece by Piece
- Dodd-Frank Brings Transparency to Financial Industry
- Dodd-Frank is More Right than Wrong
- Dodd-Frank Is a Counterproductive Mess
- Repealing Dodd-Frank Would Put the Economy in Danger
- A People's History of the Great Recession
- Job Destroyers Don't Deserve Tax Holiday
- What the Recession Has Done to the Rich
- Pot Calls Kettle Risky: The Wit and Wisdom of Tim Geithner
- New Layoffs Are Harbingers of Broader Economic Changes
- Is Obama's National Infrastructure Bank the Answer on Jobs?
- We Are In a Modern-Day Depression
- Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's Franchises Warn of Job Cuts
- Despite High Unemployment, Millions of Job Openings
- How Renters Could Save the Housing Market
- How Low-ball Appraisals Are Limiting Housing Recovery
- The Moral Question
- Rise of the Renminbi as International Currency
- United States Woos Foreign Shoppers to Boost Sagging American Economy
- How to Create More Jobs by Lowering Wages: Texas and America
- 15 Stunning Statistics About the Jobs Market
- Training Unemployed for Specific Jobs Could Solve Many Problems
- Housing Slump Will Hurt Economies Well Into Future
- Can the Government Help the Housing Market?
- Are American Consumers Relapsing Into Debt Addiction?
- Obama Deficit Plan Could Derail Hopes for Super Committee Success
- Raising Retirement Age: Reflection of Our Evolving Economy
- Why Math and Science Education Means More Jobs
- A Good Fight
- America's Government Contracting Bonanza Bilks Taxpayers
Available at Amazon.com:
A Main Street Jobs Agenda | Politics
(c) 2011 iHaveNet.com