Economic Bonus (EB) and the comparative morals of two nations

The Ten Steps to Prosperity, which is at the end of most posts on this site, includes:

Step 3: Monthly bonus for all Image result for generous

This step proposes we give a monthly Economic Bonus (EB) to every man, woman, and child in America, regardless of any other income or wealth they may have.

You would receive the same EB as the poorest receives and as Bill Gates receives.

No need to go through the convoluted steps our gigantic tax code demands, to determine what is “income,” and what kind of income it is, and when you received it and how you received it, etc., etc.

If you live in America, you receive your monthly EB.

The whole economy benefits by receiving dollars from the government, but the poorer would benefit proportionately more from this direct infusion.

It’s just more dollars for the economy, and it costs no one anything — not you, not me, not even our federal government, which creates dollars, ad hoc, by paying bills.

How much should the EB be? My early thought is $1K per month for each person above the age of 21, and $500 per month for everyone below that age.

Why not more? Or less? I wish I could give you a strong reason, but there is none. The U.S. government already has done something similar.

In a weak attempt to moderate the Great Recession of 2008, the government mailed each taxpayer a check for as much as $500, depending on their tax return.

Had the government sent every person $5,000 rather than the $500 maximum per family, the recession likely would have ended immediately.

Starting with $1K and $500 per month allows time to evaluate results. The program could be stopped during the first year, modified, or extended indefinitely.

Perhaps sending money to the “lazy” poorer, goes against our Puritan grain and our self-image of deserving what we get. But we should move past that notion.

There are many reasons people don’t have money, and unwillingness to work isn’t anywhere near the top of the list.

There have been three primary objections to EB:

  1. It would cost the federal government and taxpayers too much.
  2. It would cause inflation.
  3. It would encourage sloth and discourage people from working

Readers of this site understand that as a Monetarily Sovereign nation, the U.S. government never can run short of dollars, and so does not need or use tax dollars to fund its spending.

Those readers also know that our Monetarily Sovereign government has absolute control over the value of its sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar, so federal deficit spending does not and has not ever caused inflation.

Finally, moral readers understand that a nation can be considered great only if it is willing to care for the poorest and least powerful of its people.

Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

Here is an article describing Finland’s experiment with something similar to EB, and the attempt to care for anyone who lacks sufficient income for a healthy productive life:

New Scientist Magazine, Feb 16, 2019
Universal income study finds money for nothing won’t make us work less
By Joshua Howgego

For the last two years the Finnish government has been giving 2000 unemployed people a guaranteed, no-strings-attached payment each month.

It is the world’s most robust test of universal basic income, and the preliminary results, released this morning, seem to dispel some of the doubts about the policy’s negative impacts.

Universal basic income comes in different flavours, but the essence of the idea is to give everyone a guaranteed income that covers their basic needs, like housing and food.

Here it differs from Step 3., Monthly Bonus for All, in that it has the specific goal of covering listed needs rather than merely to give everyone money.

But merely giving everyone money has the advantage of eliminating all argument about what “basic needs” are, and how much is “basic.”

(What kind of food? How much food? What kind of housing? What housing location? Is education basic? Etc.)

Crucially, the income is the same for everyone all the time – it does not get reduced if, for example, a person gets a job or a salary increase.

This approach is the same as for Step. 3.

The Finnish results were hotly anticipated because the experiment’s careful design promised robust evidence on UBI.

This is an exceptional experiment, both socially and globally,” said Pirkko Mattila, Finland’s minister of social affairs and health, at a press conference.

The experiment began in December 2016. Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, randomly selected 2000 people aged between 25 and 58 from across the country who were on unemployment benefits.

It then replaced those people’s unemployment benefits with a guaranteed payment of 560 euros a month. They would continue receiving the payments whether they got a job or not.

Continuing to receive payments, whether or not employed, is similar to what EB would offer.

The experiment ended on 31 December 2018 and compared the income, employment status and general wellbeing of those who received the UBI with a control group of 5000 who carried on receiving benefits.

The surveys also showed that the UBI group perceived their health and stress levels to be significantly better than in the control group.

“This is early data but nonetheless a significant moment as global interest gathers in basic income,” says Anthony Painter at the RSA think tank, which is working with the Scottish government to scope out a possible trial of UBI in Fife.

Supporters of UBI say that it frees people’s time for social goods like looking after children or serving their community, although this wasn’t measured in the Finnish trial.

Additionally, requiring unemployed people to continually prove they are looking for work creates a lot of stress for them, which is bad for their health and may mean they are less likely to be able to find work.

The above are just two of the many criticisms of the Modern Monetary Theory’s “Jobs Guarantee” (JG)proposal.

It also creates bureaucracy for the state.

The above is another of the many weaknesses of the JG proposal.

Not only would JG necessitate a huge bureaucracy, but the bureaucracy constantly would have to change with changes in the economy. As more or fewer people were unemployed, at any given time, they would need service.

On the other hand, basic income is expensive, even if it replaces existing benefits. And some say it could encourage people to work less.

“The criticism levelled at basic income that it would disincentivise work is not supported by [the Finnish] data,” says Painter.

There was no difference between the two groups in terms of the number of days in employment in 2017.

The fact that UBI and EB would be “expensive” (however that term is defined) is a feature, not a flaw — at least in the case of the U.S. government.

“Expensive” by any definition merely means that the government pumps more growth dollars into the economy.

Interestingly, Finland is monetarily no-sovereign. They use the euro, which is not their sovereign currency. Finland does not have the unlimited ability to create euros. It can run short of euros.

Yet it was Finland, and not the U.S., that felt the moral and economic needs to run the experiment. It makes one wonder about the comparative morals of the two nations.

UBI is a concept that originated at least 200 years ago. But over the past few years it has become a fashionable policy idea, with many countries exploring pilot studies.

One reason for the increased interest is the fear that automation might displace large numbers of people from employment – essentially robots taking our jobs.

There have been several other trials of the idea, but none were definitive. Take for example the Mincome experiment, in which the 10,000 citizens of Dauphin in Manitoba, Canada, were guaranteed a basic level of financial security in 1975.

Recent analysis of public records from the time showed that it was only young men and young women who spent less time in work during the trial, and this because they were either in college or looking after babies.

Again, the Puritanical “sloth” concern did not emerge.

Yet there was no control group. And it wasn’t a true basic income, because the money wasn’t given unconditionally — people’s earnings were topped up when they dropped below a threshold.

Painter points out that, because the Finish experiment chose people randomly from across Finland, it can’t tell us about any regional differences in the effects of UBI. “There is a strong case for further experiments,” says Painter. “It would be good to see ‘saturation’ pilots where everyone in an entire area receives a basic income.”

Today, the U.S. debates various, insufficient versions of Step 2, Federally Funded Medicare –Parts A, B & D, Plus Long Term Care — for everyone, and has not even addressed the easily-taken Step 1, Eliminate FICA — all because of non-existent cost issues.

Other nations, that do not have as much financial ability as the U.S. to support social benefits, recognize the need and move forward with experiments and actual implementation.

Meanwhile, the wealthy and Monetarily Sovereign U.S. focuses on how to reduce Social Security, reduce Medicare, and pay for walls and other ways to keep out refugees.

Yes, it makes one wonder.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereigntyFacebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


The most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the richer and the poorer.

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.


How the MMT “Jobs Guarantee” ignores humanity.

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and Monetary Sovereignty (MS) are united by the understanding that a Monetarily Sovereign government cannot unintentionally run short of its own sovereign currency.

Thus, the U.S. federal government, unlike state and local governments, which are monetarily non-sovereign, neither needs nor uses tax dollars to fund its spending.

Federal taxes may find purpose in helping to direct the economy by making some products and services more or less attractive, but federal taxes do not provide spending funds.

Even if federal tax collections were $0, the federal government could continue spending forever.

Further, being sovereign over the U.S. dollar, the federal government has the unlimited ability to set the value of the dollar i.e. control inflation.

Yet a leader of MMT, Professor Randall Wray  has written: “Taxes or other obligations (fees, fines, tribute, tithes) drive the currency.”

This forces one to ask, “Specifically, what does ‘drive’ mean?” Does it mean:
1. When taxes are reduced, the value of money falls?
2. If taxes were zero, the value of money would be zero?
3. Do cryptocurrencies, which are not supported by taxes, have no value?

The answers: No, no, and no.

Professor Wray also claims, “the Jobs Guarantee (JG) is a critical component of MMT. It anchors the currency and ensures that achieving full employment will enhance both price and financial stability.”

Specifically, what does “anchors” mean?
1. Since JG does not currently exist, is the U.S. dollar “unanchored”?
2. Does providing college graduates with low-intelligence, ditch-digging jobs enhance price and financial stability?
3. Is forcing people to work morally and economically superior to giving them money and benefits?

Again, no, no, and no.

We often have criticized the JG here, here, here, and elsewhere.  JG is an impractical, obsolete concept, more suited to the Industrial Age than to the current and future Artificial Intelligence (AI) age.

Reader John Doyle wrote, “Professor “Bill Mitchell (no relation) goes to considerable lengths to diss most ideas of what passes for a Jobs Guarantee. I feel one should take careful note of his views:”

The essence of Bill Mitchell’s article can be found in this line:

Image result for people as robots
“We are buffer stock. We must labor to receive benefits.”

The MMT Job Guarantee . . . is a buffer stock mechanism which unconditionally hires at a fixed priced in order to redistribute labour resources from an inflating sector to a fixed price sector or from a zero bid state to a fixed price state.

Translation: JG sets salaries at a single, low level, where raises are not allowed, but provides jobs at those levels where none are available.

Is this what our nation needs?

According to Randall Wray, the essence of MMT is JG, and according to Bill Mitchell, the  JG is a buffer stock (of human labor) mechanism to control inflation.

Thus Modern Monetary Theory adherents believe the central economics problems addressed by MMT primarily involve employment and unemployment.

Supposedly, the Jobs Guarantee (JG) and a “buffer stock” control over inflation are the key solutions to what ails an economy.

By contrast, Monetary Sovereignty (MS) suggests that providing a job to each person who wants money already is an outmoded view, as robotics augmented with Artificial Intelligence (AI) increasingly demonstrates every day.

The notion that humans must labor in order to receive the fruits of an economic system reflects a combination of biblical work ethic applied to increasingly obsolete manufacturing methods.

On the horizon lurks the day when very few people will be “employed,” as we now understand the term. Machines will do the vast majority of the work, and people will reap the benefits, without human labor.

Why focus on work when we should focus on benefits?

In short, employment is not what people crave. Rather, they crave money, or more specifically people crave what money can buy.

The central economics problem addressed by MS, is the widening income/wealth/power Gaps between the richer and the poorer, and it is the Ten Steps to Prosperity (below), not JG, that addresses those gaps.

(There’s an old line that goes something like this: “Not many people die whispering,  ‘I wish I had spent more of my life in the office.'”).

JG doesn’t address fundamental human desires. It ignores them.

Here is Wray’s summary of his JG version:

1. The JG should pay a living wage with good benefits.
In line with other progressive proposals, the JG wage should establish a national minimum wage at $15 per hour, with free Medicare-style healthcare. It should also provide free childcare to enable parents to participate in the program.

Image result for ignoring a beggar
Because you don’t work, you get no money.

A “living wage” is not, and never can be, “a national minimum wage” of any specific amount. A “living wage” (whatever that term may mean) in Manhattan or San Francisco is considerably different from a living wage in a Mississippi town.

Further, while adding Medicare and childcare makes JG more palatable, they are not intrinsic parts of JG. They are parts of the Ten Steps to Prosperity.

What about free education, and why not offer “Medicare-style” benefits to those not participating in JG? Is there a moral objection?

2. Congress will appropriate the necessary funds to pay program expenses. No additional taxes will be levied.

Correct: Federal taxes do not fund federal spending. No federal program ever requires taxation.

3. The JG should be universal in the sense that it serves every community, offering jobs where people live and providing real benefits to their communities.

Here is where the academic ignorance of reality comes to play.

Exactly how will the government be able to “offer jobs where people live”? How will JG offer jobs in every city, every town, every village and every hamlet in every state in the U.S.?

I may have missed it, but I have not seen an MMT description of the department structure and mechanism by which the U.S. government can accomplish this task.

It’s a pie-in-the-sky wish, not a plan.

4. The JG should not devolve to either workfare or welfare. The social safety net should not be dismantled; no existing social services should be eliminated.

Individuals should be able to continue to receive existing benefits if they do not want to work in the JG program.

But workfare is exactly what JG is. You must work at a minimum-wage job, to get money and many social benefits are contingent on employment and income.

All those laws would need to be changed, somehow.

At the same time, the JG should not provide income support to those that do not work in the program. The JG should be seen as an employment program in which workers are paid for work.

The program should have visible benefits to communities so that the workers in the program are recognized as making positive contributions in return for their wages. The program’s purpose is to provide paid work, not welfare.

Do communities really feel that minimum-wage workers — street sweepers, fast food workers, Walmart greeters — must make “positive contributions”?

Workers can be fired for cause—with grievance procedures established to protect their rights, and with conditions on rehiring into the program

Visualize millions of minimum-wage workers spread all over the 50 states, each working in different jobs. Who will supervise each of them? What are their rights and who will protect their rights? What are the conditions for firing and rehiring them, and who will do the rehiring?

It’s all very nebulous, as though these human “details” don’t really matter.

5. However, there should be room in the JG for time-limited training and education.

While on-the-job training should be a part of every project, proposals can be solicited for specific training and basic education programs that will prepare workers for jobs in the JG — and, eventually, for work outside the JG. It is important that these are time-limited and that the training is for jobs that actually exist.

Who will do the training?
Who will train and supervise the trainers?
Who will create and conduct the basic education programs?
Why “time-limited” and what is the time?
And this is the big one, visualize trying to figure out which jobs “actually exist” and are wanted by each trainee in America.

6. Project implementation and management will be decentralized. There should be diversity in the types of employments and employers —- to help ensure there are projects that appeal to workers and their communities.

Projects should go through several layers of approval before implementation (local, state or regional, federal) and be evaluated at these levels once in progress.
Decentralization helps to protect the program from whatever political winds emanate from the du jour occupant of the White House.

The above is so ridiculous it was difficult to keep from laughing as I read it. Think about bureaucrats making sure there is:
–Diversity of types of employments
–Diversity of types of employers
–Several layers of approval (local, state, regional, federal)

Surely, this cannot be serious. It describes the largest bureaucracy in American history. It would dwarf the military. In of itself, it would eliminate unemployment in America.

7. Where possible, proposals should scale-up existing projects with proven track records and with adequate administrative capacity to add JG workers. Federal spending should not subsidize administrative expenses.

Scale up existing projects? That’s like growing companies. Who in the U.S. bureaucracy would do that?

How would these government funded businesses not compete with the private sector that is not blessed with federal funding?

And if administration is not federally funded, who would do the administering?

8. The JG should not be used to subsidize the wages of workers employed by for-profit firms. This distorts markets and is not likely to generate substantial new employment.

Image result for mathematician
According to my formulas, JG should work if you’re buffer stock.

Private business is already heavily subsidized by all levels of government. The JG should not be used as yet another corporate welfare program.

However, private firms will benefit indirectly (and greatly) from the program as it provides a pool of hirable labor and as it contributes to economic growth that improves markets for firms.

Are the workers employed by the government or by private industry. If by the government, that competes with private industry.

If employed by a private industry, that subsidizes the wages of that industry.

The notion that private industry is “heavily subsidized” by the government, is mysterious. Does being “subsidized” mean being a vendor? I wouldn’t call that a subsidy.

Or does being subsidized mean receiving tax credits, i.e. being penalized less, which also is not a subsidy.

9. Direct employment by the federal government for the JG should not dominate the program. Most employment should be administered at the local level -— where the workers are, in the communities where they will work.

So, it’s partly government workers and partly private workers. So who will hire for the government and in what departments?
And who will be the employment agency for private jobs?
Who will “administer” employment at the local level, in the thousands of communities across this vast nation?

The JG program will probably need to create 15 million new jobs—six times greater than the number of federal employees today.

The federal government is going to supervise 15 million new jobs all over America?? Who is qualified to do that? How will they do it?

If all 15 million were to join the federal workforce, supervision of all these new workers would, alone, require hiring a large number of additional federal employees. This would be politically difficult even if the massive scaling-up of the federal workforce were administratively possible.

Politically difficult” is the understatement of the year. It would be functionally a disaster.

The federal government’s role in the direct provision of jobs should be focused on providing projects to underserved communities and workers—after not-for-profits and state and local governments have employed as many as they can.

“Underserved communities” are communities with few jobs. But Professor Wray wants the government to find most of the nonexistent jobs in the private sector.

10.Inclusivity and experimentation should be encouraged. The federal government should solicit proposals for novel approaches to job creation. For example, workers’ co-ops could be formed to propose projects in which wages, benefits, and limited materials costs would be covered by the federal government for a specified time period.

I have no idea what this means, and I suspect Professor Wray is similarly at sea.

11.Consistent with point 10, project proposals put forth should not be summarily dismissed simply due to political bias.

You’ll have to go to the original proposal to figure this one out. I can’t.

12. With decentralization, the types of projects permitted would take account of local laws and rules, including prevailing wage laws and union wage rates. With the JG paying $15 per hour, this means that in many states and localities, rules and laws will prohibit various types of work, including construction. In those areas, JG workers will not build infrastructure, for example.

As if the job weren’t complicated enough, the federal bureaucrats would have to keep track of, and follow, “local laws and rules.” That should prove interesting.

13.Exceptions to the uniform wage should be considered, but this should not become the norm. For example, state or local governments might want to subsidize (at their own costs) the federally paid wage of $15 per hour in order to increase wages to some higher level. This might be because of high living costs locally. Or some JG employers might want to offer additional benefits (at their own cost) to workers, including housing allowances for high rent areas.

And of course, the federal bureaucrats would be expected to allow for these exceptions when offering federal jobs in each locality. What could possibly go wrong.

14. Limited pilot programs that experiment with different models deviating from what is described above might also be considered. For example, a pilot program run by the federal government, with all participants hired as federal employees, might be tried before the JG is imple-mented on a national scale

According to the the 2012 US Census Bureau there were 90,000 local governments of all types in the United States, each with different sets of laws that an employer must consider.

Learning, keeping updated with, and following those myriad laws should be quite a challenge, something the JG folks have not even begun to consider.

Bottom line: JG is a program created by economists who are hoping that “some devil” will be able to figure out the details because these business-ignorant folks don’t bother with such trifles.

The sad part is the thousands of hours MMT people have devoted to the academic side of economics, without understanding business realities.

I personally have spent 50 years managing and owning businesses. The MMT professors, some of whom know me, could have asked for my thoughts before wasting all those years on naivete jobs and “buffer stock,” rather than on human needs.

I resent all those brilliant men and women, who are blind to the facts that jobs are not a human goal, and that no one wants to be buffer stock. These economists have focused on their charts, graphs, and mathematics, and have overlooked the personal element of their science.

The human problem is not jobs; the problem is the income/wealth/power gap between the rich and the rest. Not only does JG not solve the gap problem, but it exacerbates the gap by enticing people and families into a minimum-pay existence.

I have only two good things to say about JG:

  1. It would be expensive, requiring the federal government to pump many billions of stimulus dollars into the economy.
  2. It wouldn’t cost taxpayers one cent, because no federal spending requires or uses tax dollars.

Otherwise, the Ten Steps to Prosperity (below) is a far better, and easier-to-implement program, than JG, and it would narrow that damn Gap.

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.


MMT’s “Jobs Guarantee”: The final nail in the coffin of this naive, foolish program

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.



One more reason why the MMT Jobs Guarantee is a con job

Image result for ben bernanke using a computerBen Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”


The previous post, The MMT Jobs Guarantee con job gave several reasons why JG is unworkable, and in fact, will hinder employment. For example:

  1. Jobs are not hard to find. There are millions of jobs available.

    May 8, 2018: U.S. employers post record high 6.6 million open jobs
    By Christopher A. Rugaber Associated Press

    U.S. employers advertised 6.6 million open jobs in March, the most on records dating back to December 2000, suggesting businesses want to staff up to meet strong demand.

    Job openings rise to record high as employers battle for qualified workers
    The number of U.S. job openings increased by 472,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.6 million in March, a record high, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The latest statistics in the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey suggested that as hiring has improved, employers have found it increasingly difficult to find qualified workers.

    A job is not hard to find. The right job is hard to find. The job in the right location — the job you want to do and are qualified to do — that job is hard to find.

    Image result for man holding a sign on a corner
    Congratulations on your JG job.


    JG will not find the right job for you. At best, it might find a job, take it or leave it.

  2. Most people do not work for the joy of labor. Most people work for money, or more accurately, for financial benefits.
    Continuing the above article:

    The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low, but stagnant wages, chronic underemployment and growing inequality are leading more Americans to take on so-called side hustles.

    Some want to supplement their incomes. Others are just trying to eke out a living. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans now earn money from the digital “platform economy,” according to the Pew Research Center.

    Most of that work is for domestic tasks, such as housecleaning and repairs, or driving for companies such as Uber.

    By moving into shops and cafes, on-demand work stands to reshape a broader slice of the U.S. economy. There are implications for low-wage workers, too, as a new class of employers fills its labor pool with on-call temp workers.

    Retail and hospitality — which accounts for 20 percent of U.S. positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — is the on-ramp for many employees to better jobs.

    But the sector is also pinched by rising minimum wages and health-care costs, and employers are seeking more flexible work arrangements that respond to the ebbs and flows of their businesses.

    But labor experts say companies such as Snag Work could set a dangerous precedent. Employers are already wary of hiring full-time employees because of overtime and health-care costs, they say, and having a pool of potential gig workers at the ready could make matters worse for those seeking the stability, benefits and protections that come with full-time work.

    Despite JG beliefs, laboring for money neither is inherently more moral or emotionally more satisfying than receiving money without labor.

    Many retired people and wealthy people tend to be quite satisfied with their lives, while not having a paying job.

You can see other reasons why JG is unworkable by visiting The MMT Jobs Guarantee con job, but there is one additional reason, not mentioned in the prior post.

What becomes of JG job searchers, creators, supervisors and trainers when jobs are plentiful vs. when jobs are scarce?

The reason relates to the current situation where unemployment is low, and available jobs are plentiful. This is not a permanent or even a long-term situation.

Unemployment and jobs availability change markedly through time.

But by any measure, implementing JG would require a large federal bureaucracy, and depending on the degree to which state and local governments are involved, large state and local bureaucracies.

These bureaucrats not only would require significant training themselves, but any private job searchers, job creators and job trainers would need to be hired and trained.

So the question becomes:

3. What would happen to the thousands of people hired to implement JG during those periods, like today, when JG scarcely is needed, if at all?

Would these thousands of people be retained during slack periods, to twiddle their thumbs? Or would they be fired, which later would require another round of hiring and training?

And if the latter, wouldn’t this new round of hiring and training always be behind the curve, so that many months or years pass before the program once again, is up and running?

If you have had occasion to debate with a JG adherent, you probably have discovered there are an infinite number of JG’s. For each objection, a new JG is invented, until the only common element is the words “Jobs Guarantee.”

In my personal experience discussing and debating JG, I’ve been told the program involves one or more of:

–federal jobs, local government jobs, and/or private jobs
–JG implementation government or private employees, or no program employees
–supplementary Basic Income payments
–minimum wage (about $7 hour) or enhanced minimum wage of $15 hour
–prior job training by program trainers, or on-the-job training by the employee’s supervisors
–Benefits like vacations, health insurance, prenatal programs, education, special clothing, IRAs
–Part time, temporary, or full-time jobs

I also have been told JG employees would not compete with or replace existing employees, though I cannot imagine how that would work.

4. Finally, the private sector already is doing JG, far better than the government would. Continuing with the article:

Snag Work and other new platforms are the go-betweens, allowing users to pick up open shifts from retailers, restaurants and hotels that have gaps in their schedules.

Wonolo, which bills itself as 40 percent cheaper than traditional temporary staffing companies, counts Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Papa John’s Pizza among its clients. Other start-ups include AllWork and Coople.

Snag Work, which recently expanded to Washington, D.C., says the arrangements are mutually beneficial for cash-strapped workers and understaffed businesses. “Workers now have lots of options to pick up shifts — Instacart, TaskRabbit, Postmates, Lyft,” said Peter Harrison, chief executive of Snag, the parent company of Snag Work, which says it has 2.1 million active users.

“But for small businesses, there are not ways for them to participate in this revolution. They’re suffering for it because they’re losing workers to these other platforms.”

That’s where Snag Work comes in, he says. This is how it works: Interested workers sign up online and are vetted by Snag Work via Skype interviews and background checks. They can search for open shifts — which typically pay $10 to $15 an hour — on the company’s app and sign up for the ones they’re interested in.

They clock in and clock out and are paid through Snag Work’s online platform. A spokeswoman for Snag Work said the company provides workers’ compensation coverage to all workers.

The federal government should encourage and regulate businesses like Snag Work, rather than create a competitive, job-hunting/ job-creating business of its own:

Temporary workers also have fewer rights. They can’t unionize and don’t have the same legal protections against workplace harassment that other employees do, according to Erin Johansson, research director at Jobs With Justice, a nonprofit that advocates for workers’ rights.

State legislatures across the country are considering bills that would legally classify gig workers as independent contractors, stripping them of a number of workplace rights and protections.

Until now, the distinction between on-demand employee and contractor has been largely unclear, as evidenced by a number of lawsuits alleging that companies such as Uber, Grubhub and Handy are incorrectly classifying their workers as independent contractors.

Stallings, the full-time gig worker, said he regularly picks up dishwashing shifts at the Five Guys near Virginia Commonwealth University.

“The other workers get a little upset when they hear I’m making more than minimum wage,” Stallings said. “You’ll hear them talk about how they’re struggling to keep full-time hours, and then I come in to wash dishes, and at $10 an hour, am making almost as much as the cooks are.”

In summary, JG is a complex, convoluted, naive program created by people who seem not to understand the realities of job hunting. So they assume they simply can supply A JOB, and anyone unemployed will be delighted to have it.

Think of how much easier, faster and more beneficial it would be simply to:

Step #1. Eliminate FICA, then
Step #2. Expand Medicare to cover everyone, then
Step #3. Give Social Security to everyone, then
Step #4. Provide free education for everyone who wants it, then . . .

You get the idea. I’m suggesting the 10 Steps to Prosperity (below) — good at all times for all economic situations.

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


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

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 (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012

Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.

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