Wisconsin Universal Jobs Guarantee

5 mins read

Office of Ed Vocke
WI Senate Candidate
District 12
P: 715-503-0107

July 1, 2020

As I write this, news is breaking of the over 140 workers, 50 of them in Tomahawk, who will be laid off by Harley Davidson in the days to come. With over 626,000 unemployment claims filed in the state, 140,000 of which have yet to be processed, the citizens of Wisconsin are struggling to make ends meet at no fault of their own, while the apparatus fails them.

Wisconsin as an institution and at its core is an entity which exists to bring out of itself the functions towards the greatest welfare of the people by promoting public convenience and general prosperity. Our Wisconsin Constitution interposes no barrier to the exercise of the power of the State in doing so, and is not limited to regulations designed to promote public health, public morals, and public safety. All movement in state government by law is in the direction of the public well being, and it is imperative to make movements in earnest at this time on peoples’ behalf in order to alleviate unneeded suffering and untenable conditions that will continue to be compounded by inaction in the weeks and months to come.

Economic orthodoxy has been revised by events of the last decade, with new enthusiasm for the old idea that states should spend freely through difficult times. The financial crisis of 2008 as well as this year’s CARES Act are powerful counterexamples to the idea that government spending drives inflation. We have seen that when the public sector spends on things that private entities generally do not, namely labor, it does not bid up its prices.

It is my proposition to create a spending program in the state of Wisconsin more ambitious and far more effective than simple minimum wage hikes or fancies of universal basic income. Our state apparatus, as a public commons and with a drive towards the maximization of public welfare by law, shall be treated as a utility to mobilize our Wisconsin resources in ways that benefit the many of the state in their time of need.

Job creation in our state would be best served in patterning this drive towards the public well being, and citizens in our state should be able to secure the right to a job in a way that provides socially useful work for themselves and our State. A public sector jobs guarantee is not a novel idea, as these types of government guarantees are available already in aspects such as contracts and loans. Managing our unemployment issue in Wisconsin needn’t be a fantasy. Rather, our government should help fund jobs proposed by agencies, municipalities, and localities where citizens are performing socially grounded work that fills the gaps left by the market.

Our concept of production needs to be reassessed in this atmosphere, and solicitations by communities in regards to rehabilitation, monitoring and renewal, and transitions towards industries that meet the needs of sustainable 21st century development sectors, are high considerations towards this goal.

Our state unemployment offices should be non-punitive and true employment offices. Jobs should be guaranteed, and fitted to the manifold capabilities of our citizens. From physical labor to online work, historical documenting to rural broadband improvement, there is no limit to what our state and communities can do in regards to putting our people to work with proactive solutions.

Lastly, we need to abandon the idea of a natural rate of unemployment. A jobs guarantee is not meant to throw money at works programs that are dissolved when the economy recovers, only to see the reimplementation of austerity measures. Our public purse pays for joblessness in one way or another in its current form. Instead of paying for unemployment with our state apparatus, we should be using our resources to pay for employment instead. The pain, neglect, and health effects inflicted on those that are unemployed are needless when confronted with proactive solutions.

It is clear that we have a budget for whatever we value in Wisconsin. The economic benefits of this jobs guarantee will pay dividends, and not only help to mitigate the current disastrous economic conditions, but set us on a path towards prosperity for the latter parts of the 21st century.


Ed Vocke
Wisconsin State Senate
District 12 Candidate

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