Guaranteeing Jobs Through Gov’t Won’t Solve Poverty

Guaranteeing Jobs Through Gov't Won't Solve Poverty

( – Since the Great Depression, America searched for ways to solve poverty. Every year, nearly a trillion dollars or more are pumped into federal antipoverty programs. All combined, these programs spend half of the federal income tax revenue every year. Yet, the result is the same. The far-Left believes they hold the answer to solving the problem. Once again, it requires an artificial boost from the government to do it without fully understanding what enables poverty.

On Thursday, February 19, Squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) introduced a federal jobs guarantee program. Laced in identity politics, her program targets minorities and women and lays a foundation “for an equitable economic recovery.” However, “equity” isn’t what you might think. For the left, it’s a synonym for social justice.

Let’s get into her proposal and why it won’t solve poverty.

Federal Jobs Guarantee Program, Identity Politics, and Failure to Solve Poverty

The case for a federal jobs guarantee sounds enticing and offers promises of hope and opportunity. In a scheduled announcement, Pressley, an economist, and other experts on race and economics laid out a plan they say will provide a living wage, dignified work and affirms “equity” for everyone. However, that’s where “everyone” ends, and identity politics begins.

And that’s precisely the point. How can one possibly be against offering dignity and a good life to someone? Especially in minority communities. They claim if the government ensures a job backed by a union, America will get full employment, provide economic security, and reduce racial and gender inequities.

On the surface, this plan sounds good. However, it fails to define why this idea is any different than any other government-run antipoverty program. In fact, it bakes in through unions a guarantee of a wage without the work. It would be nearly impossible to fire someone for bad performance, assuming there is a means to measure productivity and accountability.

This is why the program isn’t likely to solve the problem of poverty.

Pressley’s idea doesn’t account for human nature to overcome poverty. Her solution is to override it. Forcing “equity” won’t improve people’s lives, and this program will only create a different, more expensive, permanent condition that could create more problems than it solves.

Why Is Poverty Difficult to Solve?

From 2017 to 2019, American businesses created more jobs than there were qualified people to fill them. State governments created incentives for individuals to get specific training. Additionally, many companies instituted apprenticeship or internship programs to train workers. Yet, too many people in poverty didn’t take advantage of the opportunities.


Poverty isn’t just an issue of work. In all human endeavors, it’s only one part of the equation. Think about it, a lot of people spend their lives working but never attain any measurable wealth or enjoy success as defined by the culture. That’s because two more elements are often neglected.

Those elements are work and values.

While the government might be able to ensure work, it has little control over culture and values. In fact, the government is a reflection of those things, not the leader. Communities send Representatives to Congress and state Houses that represent the community’s values and cultures.

Values, both good and bad, are influenced by families, and those values influence a community’s culture. When work, values and culture are present, those trapped in poverty have an option to escape it if they choose to take a different path. Without all three, it’s a daunting challenge.

As well-intentioned as it may be, government-run “equity” programs like guaranteed government work won’t solve the problem of poverty. In fact, the government was never intended to serve that purpose and is structurally incapable of it. As a result, the government will create a new problem that could negatively impact the very communities the program was meant to serve.

Poverty isn’t a scientific problem that government programs can easily fix. It’s a dynamic phenomenon that is continuously shifting. Education, training, incentives, imperfect information, circumstances and behavior influence a person’s economic situation. Work, values and culture influence each of those factors, in turn.

That’s why a guaranteed job won’t solve the problem of poverty or inequity.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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