In case you haven’t read, Bernie Sanders is proposing jobs for anyone out of work. That’s right, if you are a displaced factory worker, for example, Bernie wants you to make $15 an hour cleaning up park trails for your municipal government, writes Scott Shackford in Reason.
What, you say, that sounds like something an employee of the city’s parks department already does, or is supposed to do? What about repainting school playgrounds? Oh, the unionized school district employees gave you a stern look? Um.
Sanders has announced a new plan to make sure everybody who is unemployed gets a job. His plan is just to invent a bunch of new government jobs and pay $15 an hour with benefits! Ta-Da! Problem solved.
Presently, Sanders has demurred on providing a cost estimate, reports the Washington Post. Or any idea how it will be funded.
Well, never mind that. That’s the beauty of socialism. Instead, let’s concentrate on jobs. What kind of government work, you wonder, would provide $15 an hour plus benefits to millions of unemployed Americans? Conveniently, the left-leaning Levy Economics Institute of Bard College offers examples of how this idea might play out.
A local artist collective employs painters, actors, musicians, and stagehands to run year-round productions for the community. They organize school outreach programs, run summer camps, and offer free art, music, and literacy classes for disadvantaged/special needs youths. They collaborate with local schools in offering art enrichment programs.
It separates the offer of employment from the profitability of employment. Projects are created to serve community needs, rather than prioritizing whether the projects are deemed profitable in the narrow sense.
Scott puzzles, “But how does one determine what a community needs while ignoring market responses?”
Why should taxpayers fund community plays if they have no interest in actually sitting through them? This report makes it very clear that the task falls to local public institutions and job centers, not market demands. That necessarily means it will be driven, much like this report is, by the interests of the people who are in charge of the programs or have the most influence over the programs. That these programs could end up as a corrupt breeding ground for government cronyism and nepotism in who gets assigned for which jobs is utterly absent from the study.
Alas, a plethora of bad economic ideas doesn’t stop with Sanders’ jobs program, Scott Shackford reminds readers. There are so many, Matt Welch, editor at large at Reason, put together a top-10 list of BS’s bad ideas.
Check them out here.