The continuing dismal employment numbers are finally getting political attention. George Will advocated the Republican solution on ABC's Sunday morning yak today: cut unemployment benefits. My guess is that Democrats may lack enthusiasm for that idea.

I personally like the idea of a new version of the WPA, with a pre-1940 style emphasis on jobs training. From the cited Wikipedia article:

Until ended by Congress and war employment during 1943, the WPA was the largest employer in the country. Most people who needed a job were eligible for at least some of its jobs.[3] Hourly wages were the prevailing wages in each area; the rules said workers could not work more than 30 hours a week, but many projects included months in the field, with workers eating and sleeping on worksites. Before 1940, there was some training involved to teach new skills and the project's original legislation had a strong emphasis on training.

This would be anathema to conservatives, of course, but there would probably be push back from unions as well. They would prefer that all new jobs be union jobs, and would have strong support from the construction industry.

A conservative proposal with more intrinsic merit is the idea of a rebate or suspension of payroll taxes. This is a twofer for them since it would both undermine Social Security and promote their beloved anti-tax theme. I like another idea, embraced by some conservatives (those with positive IQs who are not running for office) is the idea of replacing payroll taxes with a carbon and/or
value added tax. A gradual transition to such a regime would tend to stimulate employment.

How about a WPA, combined with a temporary rebate on payroll taxes, with the replacement taxes to kick in gradually?


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