In previous posts (here, here, here, and others) I have given you many reasons why Modern Monetary Theory’s (MMT) “Jobs Guarantee” is naive foolishness.

For instance:

1. Jobs are not hard to find. Millions of jobs are available. It’s the right jobs that are hard to find. (Right skills, right pay, right location, right benefits, right working environment, right opportunities for advancement, right learning potential)

Image result for overburdened bureaucrat

“And I’m supposed to find them good jobs?

2. The federal government bureaucrats are ill-prepared to:

a. Find or create jobs,
b. interview,
c. hire,
d. supervise,
e. promote and demote,
f. switch jobs, and
g. fire the millions of people who should be fired.
h. while determining pay scales

for every kind of job in every city, suburb, and hamlet all over America.

3. The federal government is ill-prepared to provide healthcare, maternity leave, vacation days, IRAs and myriad other benefits appropriate to different employees all over the nation.

4. If people are hired only because they need jobs, rather than because the jobs need people, nothing prevents those jobs from being make-work.

Image result for workers standing around

“Good news! We just found you an interesting job. Stand around and look interested.”

And now comes proof, if more proof is needed, of the federal government’s incompetence in the whole “jobs” area:

The $1.7 Billion Federal Job Training Program Is a Massive Failure
The program’s goals might be admirable, but the reality is a whole different story.
Joe Setyon, Aug. 28, 2018

The Department of Labor’s Job Corps program is supposed to teach disadvantaged young people the skills they need to get good jobs. But the program, which costs taxpayers about $1.7 billion per year, is apparently a failure.

O.K., it doesn’t cost taxpayers one cent.

A Monetarily Sovereign government has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency, which it does by the simple act of paying creditors.

Federal taxes do not fund federal spending. (See link.)

But even that isn’t the most important point.

About 50,000 students enroll in the program each year, about two-thirds of whom are high school dropouts, according to The New York Times. Results aside, the program’s goals are admirable. As The Wall Street Journal reported in April:

Launched in 1964, Job Corps works with 16- to 24-year-olds who grew up homeless or poor, passed through foster care, or suffered other hardships.

The goal is to equip these young adults with skills for careers in advanced manufacturing, the building trades, health care, information technology, business and more.

Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. A March audit from the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General sampled 324 Job Corps participants who were five years removed from graduation.

The median annual income of 231 of those participants (wage records weren’t available for the rest), was just $12,486 as of December 2016.

The audit acknowledged that “Job Corps could not demonstrate beneficial job training outcomes.”

And that is the point. The federal government bureaucrats were supposed to do what high school “Workplace Preparation” courses accomplish — and predictably, they failed.

(Workplace preparation courses prepare students to move directly into the workplace after high school or to be admitted into select apprenticeship programs or other training programs in the community.

Courses focus on employment skills and on practical workplace applications of the subject content.

Many workplace preparation courses involve cooperative education and work experience placements, which allow students to get practical experience in a workplace.)

That’s not all. Job Corps spends about $50 million a year on “transition services” to help graduates find jobs.

But in 94 percent of the cases sampled, “Job Corps contractors could not demonstrate they had assisted participants in finding jobs.”

A 94% failure rate: These are the same federal bureaucrats who are supposed to find jobs for millions of people all over the country — millions of people who don’t have the “benefit” of federal jobs training??

A terrible waste of time for the job-seekers.

One former North Texas teacher, who quit in 2015, says the entire program is failing. “Job Corps doesn’t work,” the teacher, Teresa Sanders, tells the Times. “The adults are making money, the politicians are getting photo ops.

But we are all failing the students.

No surprise there. It’s what I’ve preached for years.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta admits the program “requires fundamental reform.”

“It is not enough to make changes at the margins,” he tells the Times. “We need large-scale changes.”

If a small program fails, the government’s approach is to make the program biggere, so that the failure can be bigger.

Despite its shortcomings, Jobs Corps is popular among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress (to Democrats, it’s a government program aimed at reducing poverty; to Republicans, it incentivizes hard work), so there’s only so much Acosta can do. “

Does that sound familiar, MMT? Reducing poverty and incentivizing work are two of MMT’s goals (i.e. excuses) for its Jobs Guarantee.

But why do we need to incentivize work? Why has sweat become a moral imperative?

You have a program with a rich and complicated history that’s one of the biggest leftovers from the war on poverty, and it is enormously complicated to make any significant changes,” Eric M. Seleznow, a former deputy assistant secretary for the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration during the Obama administration, tells the Times.

He notes that “competing interests from Congress, program operators, advocates, as well as complex legal requirements present a lot of challenges.”

If Job Corps is salvageable, then it can do some real good. But if real reforms aren’t going to happen, Congress should shut it down.

So let this be the final nail in the coffin of the “Jobs Guarantee, and instead, let us begin to focus on the Ten Steps to Prosperity (below).

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.

Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.

Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded medicare — parts a, b & d, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.