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posted on 17 January 2017

More Proof The MMT's "Jobs Guarantee" Can't Work

by Rodger Malcolm Mitchell,

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) understands that federal taxes do not fund federal spending. In that sense, MMT and Monetary Sovereignty (MS) are in perfect agreement.

However, we diverge in several areas, among which is MMT's "Jobs Guarantee." Stated in its simplest form, JG is:

"The government will guarantee a job to anyone who wants a job."

We have written about the naive impossibility of JG often, and will not repeat the various reasons here. (If you are interested, see the links in Step #3 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity below.)

Instead, I merely will direct you to an article that succinctly addresses one of the issues Employers Say They Can't Find Good Workers, but the Fix Is Simple:

The economy is still shaky, (and) many parts of the country are suffering from the results of globalization. Employers have sent jobs to other parts of the world or axed them completely, in some cases.

Yet, there are still millions and millions of job openings out there. And incredibly enough, there are many employers who are complaining that they can't find anyone to come work for them - or at least anyone who is qualified.

A July report from the Dallas Federal Reserve contained a couple of quotes from employers explaining their plight. "Entry-level candidates cannot read or follow instructions. Most cannot do simple math problems. What is wrong with the educational system? The ability to find qualified employees is our largest problem at this time."

This is at odds with what we've been hearing for many years now - that there simply aren't enough jobs out there, and that has caused the labor participation rate to fall, and for many American communities to suffer. But evidently, that's not quite the case.

People want jobs. There are millions of jobs available. Yet, nobody wants the jobs that are available. Why? Because many of those jobs aren't "good" jobs. They may not pay much, for example, or offer full-time hours.

If you go back to read the links indicated in Step #3, you'll find that the JG proposes paying minimum wage. (It does that to keep the government from competing with private industry, which would be contrary to the fundamental purpose of the JG.)

So, how will JG's minimum wage solve the problem? Obviously, it won't.

What's an employer to do, given the circumstances?

The answer is incredibly simple, but evidently, many of the nation's employers just don't want to face the music: They need to pay more. Low pay is the number one reason people quit their jobs, and when people quit, companies need to spend more to recruit, train, and retain new employees.

For the time being, the economic environment is sending the signal that wages need to go up. Employers who refuse to budge are going to continue to be flooded with applications from workers they don't want for jobs they can't fill.

News flash: Employers will not offer higher salaries unless that is their only alternative. Instead, they will send jobs overseas, use automation, or simply not produce job-heavy products.

The solution is not an impossible "Jobs Guarantee" from the government. The solution is something indicated at the beginning of this article. Remember this line?

"Entry-level candidates cannot read or follow instructions. Most cannot do simple math problems. What is wrong with the educational system? The ability to find qualified employees is our largest problem at this time."

Education and training is the solution, and the solution for that can be found at Steps #4 and #5 of the Ten Steps, below.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Monetary Sovereignty


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 (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 AN ANNUAL ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) 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 EVERYONEFive 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.


Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don't pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).

Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from 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 corporate 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.

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