CNN Business tells us that the unemployment figures that have accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic should not be interpreted as reflecting a temporary phenomenon. The headline on one of their recent stories reads, "The ugly truth about millions of American jobs: They are not coming back."
So should we be "afraid.... very afraid?"
I would like to suggest not. Here is what I think. The United States has immense wealth (not fairly distributed, of course), and it has lots of work that needs to be done. But those who have provided jobs in what has always been called "the private sector" are apparently not going to be hiring. At least, not if we believe the latest reports. Well, to the extent that people are willing and able to do work and are not finding any opportunities for employment, why don't we simply employ ourselves?
We can do that, you know. It has been done before.
We need lots of childcare workers. And teachers! We need those who can do infrastructure projects. We need to plant millions - maybe billions - of trees. We need more public art, including music on the street corners. Regretably, we are in need of trained firefighters.
Collectively, we can think of a lot of very productive jobs that need to be done, and that aren't being done now, and we can, collectively, set up mechanisms to assign the work, and to pay for it. We will pay for it by taxing those who have a lot of money.
Ah, that's never easy. True! But not impossible.
I am expecting that our next president is going to take on this challenge, and whether the next president calls it the "Green New Deal," or not, we are going to mobilize the wealth of this country to get work done on tasks we need to address.
Let's not immobilize ourselves with fear. Let's do what needs to be done, because we can do it!
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