A job is the best kind of social policy not only for somebody who’s now working and has an income, but for neighbors, community and family. It’s a claim Democrats aren’t embarrassed to make when one of their own is presiding over the sort of job market we’re starting to enjoy, in which employers make attractive offers to people without skills or experience or credentials, or who have a checkered criminal history.
“The best anti-poverty program is a job,” tweeted Barack Obama to mark a particularly good monthly report in May 2015.
“The great economic boom of the 1990s lifted the fortunes of almost every disadvantaged group, including racial minorities, high school dropouts and single mothers,” jubilated the Los Angeles Times in the late Clinton years.
“America Is ‘Fully Employed,’ But Some Still Need Jobs,” snarked the New York Times at the same stage of the Reagan boom.
A job may not be a solution for somebody who can’t work or can’t find a job, or who has behavioral problems or is disabled, but hiring binges are engines of social amelioration. We’re on the cusp of such a boom now, or perhaps reacquainting ourselves with the Trump boom. Fifteen million job vacancies were begging by late March, five million more than before the pandemic. A McDonald’s franchisee in Tampa is offering $50 to entice prospective workers to schedule an interview.