Are Guaranteed Jobs in Everyone's Future?

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A decade after the Lehman Brothers collapse, long-accepted principles of free trade are being challenged, and innovative new ideas are emerging.

Economies of the Future: What's next for capitalism and currencies, poverty and the planet?What's next for capitalism and currencies, poverty and the planet? Find out with this OZY original series: Economies of the Future.

John Maynard Keynes famously advised governments to employ those without jobs to dig holes and fill them, if nothing else, because he believed that money in their hands would keep the engine of the economy running.

Today, Duke University’s William Darity offers a similar solution. He’s a proponent of a “federal job guarantee” and has proposed that the U.S. government establish a National Investment Employment Corps. Anyone who finds themselves without a job can use the NIEC to sign up for full-time work that pays at least $24,600 and offers the same benefits as other federal employees. The work would focus on local needs, and it would offer skills training.

With the resulting lack of unemployment, costs for unemployment insurance and Medicaid would dry up, and the cost of the program could be funded through a financial transaction tax, a carbon tax or by expanding the estate tax. Sound impossible? Well, it’s been done before, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the Works Progress Administration. Check out how Rexy, our ironic dinosaur, sees the idea in the video above.

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