Jobs for All, Free Public Services for All, a National Recovery Plan

We demand the federal government create a democratically-controlled public works and public service program, with direct government employment, to generate 25 million new jobs at a living wage. The new jobs will be to build the facilities and provide the services to create free quality public services needed to meet the needs of the 99%, including in education (through university), child care, healthcare (single payer), housing, transportation, and clean energy. The program will be financed by taxing the wealth and income of the corporations and wealthiest 1% through a system of progressive taxation , and by ending all U.S. wars and occupations and redirecting those military expenditures to meet human needs. Employment in the program will be open to all, including all immigrants and persons formerly incarcerated, and workers will have the right to unionize and to strike. Training will be provided to guarantee access to all jobs.


A Grim Reality: Young workers, jobless and without a future. Older workers, unemployed for good. Workers of all ages haunted by unemployment and stagnating wages. Poverty and insecurity rising. Human needs neglected. The earth endangered.

It Need Not Be: All who want work have a right to jobs that pay decent wages, assure healthy living and allow time for leisure and family. Good jobs for all can meet human needs for adequate public transportation, affordable housing, sufficient child and elder care and can be environmentally sustainable. A better tomorrow begins by ending unemployment and providing useful work for all.

Why do we need 25 million more jobs at good union wages? Since 2008, an average of about 25 million people have been without work or forced to work part-time. Millions who do work earn poverty level wages (U.S. government data).

Does the Federal Government Need to Create All 25 Million Jobs? No. When unemployed workers get jobs, they have more money to spend that, in turn, creates jobs for other workers. Reducing work time could also create more jobs. But direct government employment needs to supply about half the 25 million.

How Can We Get 25 Million More Jobs? The U.S government can launch job programs that hire millions of the unemployed. The Jobs for All demand is for DIRECT government employment—the money goes directly to the workers as government employees. It is not filtered through contractors who take most of the money. Direct employment is what our government did in the 1930s when it put millions of people to work doing useful jobs that made a lasting contribution to our country—building roads, bridges, schools, libraries, housing, parks and creating art, plays and much more. Over six years the Works Progress Administration (WPA) employed nearly eight million people –in a country with less than half our present population.

Can We Afford to Create Millions of Jobs? Actually, we can’t afford not to create jobs! Unemployment is responsible for more than half of current federal deficits: fewer people and businesses pay taxes and more people need government benefits. Because we lose the goods and services that unemployed workers and idle plants could have produced, and as a result the economy shrinks by trillions of dollars. Start-up costs can be financed by ending all wars, eliminating unnecessary defense spending, rescinding tax cuts on the rich that have reduced revenues by trillions of dollars, and taxing the wealth of the wealthy to force them to pay back what they have taken from us. Initially, such a program would cost $1.5 trillion a year in net government outlays. But, just for example, a 5% annual tax on the wealth—stocks and bonds—of families with more than $2 million in assets (basically the 1%), could raise $1.2 trillion a year by itself. Ending America’s many wars would free up at least another $0.4 trillion.

Who Gets the Jobs? Jobs for All means jobs for everyone who wants one. All includes, for example, new college grads unable to find work, unemployed computer experts, factory workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas and laid-off state and local government workers. It also means people particularly disadvantaged in the labor market-- such as persons with disabilities, formerly incarcerated persons, undocumented immigrants and minorities subject to racial discrimination. In demanding jobs for all, we demand the removal of all barriers to employment.

What is a “democratically-run" program? Workers and their communities must have democratic input into how the program works at all levels of government. How this will be done will evolve in the course of fighting for and building the Jobs for All program.

Sources of Additional Information
National Jobs for All Coalition,; www,

Sheila D. Collins, Helen Ginsburg, and Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, Jobs for All: A Plan for the Revitalization of America (New York: Apex Press, 1973).

Philip Harvey, “Human Rights and Economic Policy Discourse: Taking Economic and Social Rights Seriously,” Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 33: 466.

Coalition for Social and Economic Justice, “The Case for Full Employment,” December 8, 2008,

Gallup, “Americans Favor Jobs Plan Proposal, Including Taxing the Rich,” September 20, 2011,

Employment Situation Summary,” October 7, 2011.

Lili Gomez and Eric Lerner, “Jobs for All, Legalization for all, A Massive Public Works Program”, Mass Strike, Feb., 2011, p.11

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