Do we need jobs? Of course. Any jobs? No. Like I said in the passage about the social safety net, we are approaching a point where so much will be automated that there won’t be enough jobs for everyone. Unless we accept this and treat everyone with dignity , we are going to force people to find slave work or anything to be employed– especially in bass-awkward states where governments tie healthcare to employment.
Jobs should be paid fairly. Someone working for minimum wage should be able to shelter and support a family. In fact everyone should have that, so the worker should be able to put even more money away. One thing we have to remember however is that simply crowing “jobs” is a stupid reason to support a project.
Take the Keystone Pipeline for example. This thing is a walking time bomb for an ecological disaster. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Yet its supporters like to say “jobs jobs jobs” . How many you ask? Oh about 30 or so. FOR THE WHOLE UNITED STATES. What kind of stupidity is that?
If we want jobs there are plenty of public works programs we could undertake that don’t involve oil spills that will contaminate drinking water for millions of people. Think bridge, highway and sewer maintenance. Think coonstructing new train tracks and new trains. Think paying people for americorps-type work where we teach youngsters in hard to reach places. Think community farm stipends. We could get very creative with this if we had the political will. We don’t have to rely on corporations for this. If corporations want to pay people well, they are contributing to building a greater America. If the salaries they pay force their workers into seeking public assistance, those jobs are worthless and those corporations are parasites on the body of America.
Lastly , we can’t be afraid to tax. The American economic system will continue to thrive if we tax the upper class and corporations fairly. If they threaten to leave, their goods get tariffed. we can’t be subservient to the wealthy class. Look to FDR (and LBJ*) and imagine possibilities powered by audacity.
*If we discount the Vietnam war (we can’t, but nor can we overlook the good the man did) LBJ would be one of the greatest presidents in American history. Civi rights. Voting Rights. Medicare.