MARY REICAHRD, HOST: Today is Thursday, April 26th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
Senator Bernie Sanders is about to unveil a federal program that would guarantee a $15-an-hour job to anyone who wants one.
SANDERS: The American people are catching on, we’re gonna transform, we’re gonna transform our national priorities. We’re gonna make this institution start working for the working families of this country, not just the one percent.
EICHER: Sanders spoke at a rally last week protesting a tax reform widely credited for helping middle-class workers.
It’s something he’d repeal if he could and replace with a vast new system of guaranteed government employment.
Under the plan, local and state governments would send proposals for public-works projects to 12 regional offices around the country.
This new layer of bureaucracy would be the clearinghouse.
Now, these regional bureaucrats would then recommend projects for final approval to the next layer of bureaucrats at the Labor Department in Washington.
REICHARD: WORLD Radio commentator Cal Thomas just doesn’t think that’s going to work very well.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: No, I don’t. Not at all.
Senator Sanders is proposing a federal jobs program at a time when unemployment is at its lowest rate in 17 years. Employers have open positions they can’t fill.
Nevertheless, these jobs would offer not only $15 an hour, but a full suite of federal perks: health insurance, paid family and medical leave, and the same retirement benefits as other federal employees.
And under Sanders’ proposal, every qualified American would be entitled either to receive a job or receive job training so that they would qualify.
The proposal hasn’t been released yet, but already has the backing of two other Democratic White House hopefuls, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
What is it about socialism that remains so attractive to many liberals? In most communist countries, it’s just a form of mutually-shared poverty.
The best guarantee of a job is a thriving economy. And ours is thriving, expanding at an annual rate of nearly 3 percent. Just a few years ago, many economists said that kind of growth was impossible to expect.
The goal of Sanders and others in the guaranteed-income crowd is to “eliminate working poverty and involuntary unemployment altogether.”
Wait, hasn’t that already been tried?
The Great Society programs launched more than 50 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s had similar goals. They have so far cost a collective $22 trillion and the poverty rate remains essentially unchanged.
According to the Library of Economics and Liberty: “In recent years governments at various levels [in this country] have spent about $350 billion per year … on programs serving low-income families. Despite this, measured poverty is more prevalent in the United States than in most of the rest of the industrialized world.”
Sanders’ proposal taps into a growing feeling, particularly among many young Americans. Many of them feel corporations are evil. They feel that some people are paid “too much.” That government can balance out “income inequality,” and ought to, because some people make more money than others, and they feel that America is therefore an unfair nation.
This worldview appears to be increasingly taught in public schools and at the higher level by tenured college professors.
But this worldview did not build America, and it won’t sustain us.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.