Work for everybody who wants it? Policymakers reconsider a federal job guarantee.

When it comes to government intervention in the economy, the political parameters have shifted.

On the left, there is a sense of opportunity to experiment with the unorthodox, Eduardo Porter reports for The New York Times, with some policymakers considering having the federal government provide jobs directly to anyone who wants one.

The question is, would the Biden administration embrace a policy not deployed since the New Deal?

On paper, at least, a job guarantee would drastically moderate recessions, as the government mopped up workers displaced by an economic downturn. But unlike President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s programs to provide jobs to millions displaced by the Great Depression, the idea now is not just to address joblessness, but to improve jobs even in good times.

If the federal government offered jobs at $15 an hour plus health insurance, it would force private employers who wanted to hang on to their work force to pay at least as much. A federal job guarantee “sets minimum standards for work,” said Darrick Hamilton, an economics professor at the New School for Social Research

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