Job Guarantees a worthy strategy

Job Guarantees a worthy strategy
Posted on August 28, 2016 | Larry Kazdan | Written on August 25, 2016
Letter type:


Vancouver Sun

Re:  Canadians think guaranteed income good, but too expensive and it makes people lazy: survey, Tristin Hopper,  Aug 15, 2016

A guaranteed income would increase consumption without improving the economy's productive capacity and could be inflationary. It might also result in the divisive perception of two classes of citizens, one supporting the other. So while a Guaranteed Minimum Income program certainly merits consideration, so should a guarantee of work for all those able and willing.

The alternative Job Guarantee proposal calls for full employment over the private sector business cycle. When the economy declines, community jobs that assist the elderly, support public arts, and protect the environment would be created by federal funding with decentralized administration through non-profit groups and lower levels of government. As the private sector recovers, recruits would be induced by higher pay from this readily available and motivated workforce, thereby shrinking the government-funded job pool.

Let us not deny young people who have spent years training the vital opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and contribute to society by accepting anything less than a full employment economy.



the Job Guarantee is actually a macroeconomic policy framework designed to ensure full employment and price stability is maintained over the private sector business cycle.

The Job Guarantee jobs would ‘hire off the bottom’, in the sense that minimum wages are not in competition with the market-sector wage structure.

By not competing with the private market, the Job Guarantee would avoid the inflationary tendencies of old-fashioned Keynesianism, which attempted to maintain full capacity utilisation by ‘hiring off the top’ (i.e. making purchases at market prices and competing for resources with all other demand elements).

Job Guarantee workers would enjoy stable incomes, and their increased spending would boost confidence throughout the economy and underpin a private-spending recovery.

2. Job Guarantee vs. Basic Income

Under JG, employment rises, socially useful production rises, and (as we have argued many times) some of that production is dedicated to the benefit of the poor, providing goods and services at the local level that the private sector has not provided, and thus it absorbs part of the wage. In other words, both supply and demand rise.

About The Author

Larry Kazdan's picture

Larry Kazdan has undergraduate degrees in history and sociology, is a retired Chartered Professional Accountant and runs the website
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