H.R. 1000, THE JOBS FOR ALL ACT
A FEDERAL JOBS PROGRAM
Summary of H.R. 1OOO, the 'Jobs for All' Act
Based on research by Philip Harvey, Professor of Law and Economics,
Rutgers Law School.
What is H.R. 1OOO, the 'Jobs for All' Act?
HR 1000, the Jobs for All Act is a Congressional bill sponsored by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D, FL-24) that would establish a federal jobs program to create public sector jobs with living wages in parts of the country where little or no job opportunities are available.
Under this Act, the federal government will use all available means to create and maintain conditions that promote useful job opportunities for all who seek them.
How many jobs would the 'Jobs for All' Act create?
On average, the Jobs for All Act would directly create 6.3 million new jobs and paid training positions. Not counting the additional jobs that would be created indirectly through program spending that would stimulate the private sector economy during or after a recession.
During periods of excessively high unemployment such as this time of coronavirus, public investment and the number of jobs created under the Jobs for All Act could be significantly increased to urgently employ workers displaced the pandemic or any other economic downturn.
How much will workers be paid under the 'Jobs for All' Act?
They would pay the same wages and provide the same benefits as equivalent public sector jobs in the community where the worker is employed.
The bill’s funding estimates are based on the assumption that full-time program workers would be paid an average of about $21.50 per hour in 2019 dollars—or about $42,000 a year for a 37.5 hour average work week.
Individuals who cannot qualify for a job under the program that would pay them enough to support a decent standard of living due to their family circumstances and the local cost of living would be provided additional opportunities and benefits that would meet their needs.
What types of jobs will be created under the 'Jobs for All' Act?
States, local governments, Native American tribes, and non-profit organizations will be required to consult with local residents, community, and labor organizations to assess the needs of local communities and make recommendations for new job opportunities.
Jobs created under this Act will be based on the following criteria:
Providing human services, including childcare, health care, support services for individuals and families with special needs, education, after-school and vacation programs for children, and recreational and cultural enrichment programs for persons of all ages.
Proving programs that provide disadvantaged youth with opportunities for employment, education, leadership development, entrepreneurial skills development, and training.
Implementing environmental initiatives designed to conserve natural resources, address environmental damage, reverse climate change, and achieve environmental sustainability.
The expansion of emergency food programs to reduce hunger and promote family stability.
Increasing staffing in Head Start, and other early childhood education programs to promote school readiness, early literacy, life-long learning, and family involvement in their children’s education.
The enhancement of emergency preparedness for natural and other community disasters and of post-emergency assistance for the victims of disasters.
The expansion of work-study opportunities for secondary and post-secondary students, and the creation of “bridge employment” opportunities for recent graduates who have been unable to find work in the occupations for which they have trained.
The maintenance, renovation, and improvement of parks, playgrounds, and other public spaces.
The provision of job training to better equip Program employees to perform their program-funded jobs or to allow unemployed and underemployed individuals to obtain employment for which they otherwise would not qualify.
The construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and site improvement of affordable housing and public facilities, including improvements in the energy efficiency or environmental quality of such public facilities or housing.
The repair, remodeling, and beautification of schools, community centers, libraries, and other community-based public facilities, and the augmentation of staffing for the services they provide.
Providing work for unemployed writers, musicians, artists, dancers and actors on projects that are consistent with the public service and equality-enhancing objectives of this Act.
Ultimately, the types of jobs created under the Jobs for All Act depends on the creativity and commitment of public sector workers, public agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. The only limitations on the type of jobs created under this Act are within our ability to imagine new ways of meeting human and societal needs.
Who would receive jobs under the 'Jobs for All' Act?
Anyone who is either unemployed or employed part-time while seeking full-time work. To establish their eligibility, they would have to register with their state’s public employment service as available for and seeking work.
The employment service (whose capacities would be expanded with funding from this Act) would evaluate the job seeker's qualifications and interests, counsel the job seeker on the availability of both jobs and/or training opportunities, and refer them to jobs and/or training opportunities that match their interests and qualifications—first outside the jobs program and then inside the jobs program.
How will the 'Jobs for All' Act create jobs?
The Jobs for All Act would establish a National Full Employment Trust Fund with two accounts. One account would be used for direct job creation. The second account would fund job placement services and job training programs in which the participants would be paid a stipend.
States, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and Native American tribes will be able to receive grants from National Full Employment Trust Fund in order to create job opportunities for unemployed and underemployed individuals while addressing community needs and reducing inequalities in health, housing, education, job readiness, and public infrastructure.
Community input will also be required to help identify local public needs, determine parts of the local economy that are in need of employees, and make recommendations for new job opportunities and projects in their areas.
What about job training?
All jobs program employers would be required to provide their employees with as much program-funded training as needed to perform their jobs in a professionally competent manner. This training could be provided either on the job or by free-standing training programs under contract with jobs program employers. Free-standing training programs would also be funded to provide vocational training for individuals who wanted to increase their earning capacity.
However, to avoid dead-end job training, funding would be provided for such programs only if they were able to provide reasonable assurances that all their graduates would be placed in jobs utilizing their newly acquired skills—either inside or outside the jobs program—upon completion of their training.
Anyone enrolled in a training program who was not being paid by their employer to attend, would be eligible to receive a program-funded cost of living stipend as long as they maintained satisfactory attendance, participation, and progress in the training program.
Would the jobs be permanent?
Jobs under this Act would last until a program employee received an offer of comparable work from a private or regular public-sector employer, with the program employee having the same right to refuse the job offer for good cause that newly eligible recipients of unemployment insurance are granted under existing law.
Would the jobs of existing public sector workers be protected?
Absolutely! The bill contains strong language to protect current public sector workers from being displaced under this jobs program. And more importantly, an effective enforcement mechanism is also included to further ensure that existing public sector jobs will be protected.
The bill also prohibits the placement of jobs program employees in a unionized workplace without the consent of the union and the completion of collective bargaining with the union concerning the terms and conditions of the program employees’ employment.
How much will it cost to implement the 'Jobs for All' Act?
The size and cost of the program would vary over the course of the business cycle. More jobs would have to be created during recessions (such as the Coronavirus pandemic) and fewer jobs when the economy is at the top of the business cycle.
On average, the program would cost about $320 billion a year. That’s less than a fifth of what federal, state, and local governments spend on health care, less than a quarter of federal spending on Social Security, and only 28% of total federal, state, and local government spending on education.
How will the government pay for the 'Jobs for All' Act?
The good news is that the program would almost surely pay for itself because of the additional revenues and savings it would generate for all levels of government. Unemployment is very costly not just to the individuals who suffer it, but to society as a whole.
The bad news is that these additional revenues and savings are scattered so widely in government budgets that it would be hard to identify and estimate their magnitude with enough accuracy to reallocate them to pay for the jobs program.
However, five additional sources of revenues and savings will allow the Jobs for All Act to fulfill its job creation mandates.
1. Savings in other categories of government health care spending because of the health insurance benefits the jobs program would provide to its employees.
2. The income and payroll taxes paid on jobs program wages. This would average about $44 billion a year in additional government revenue.
3. The government would save an average of $37 billion per year in unemployment insurance benefits by people accepting employment under the 'Jobs For All' Act
4. Goods and services produced by programs under the Jobs for All Act would generate a low estimate of $30 billion per year in additional revenue.
5. The remaining $209 billion average annual jobs program cost would be funded by a newly-created Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) placed on financial transactions such as the trading of stocks and bonds. The tax rate would be low (either 20 or 6 cents on each $100 worth of taxed securities). It would be paid almost entirely by the wealthiest individuals in society, and it would help discourage speculative trading in securities that could potentially harm the overall economy.
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H.R. 1000, the 'Jobs for All' Act is just one example of how a Federal Jobs Program can be implemented in the United States. Multiple policy organizations, elected officials, and candidates have proposed different variations of a Federal Jobs Program. FEN-PAC supports any jobs program that creates living wage jobs equitably across race, gender, and geography while addressing the urgent needs of our society.