Saturday, August 15, 2015

Social Security at 80: Expanded But Still Missing the Keystone

cross-posted from Huffington Post >>  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gertrude-schaffner-goldberg/social-security-at-eighty_b_7980418.html



Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg Headshot





Eighty years ago, on August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, famously declaring: "If the Senate and House of Representatives had done nothing more... than pass this Bill, the session would be regarded as historic for all time." Nonetheless, Roosevelt acknowledged that this groundbreaking Act was "a cornerstone in a structure... by no means complete."

Initially, the Social Security structure was indeed incomplete. Only a portion of the workforce was covered by the retirement and unemployment insurance programs. Left out were employees in very small establishments and the public sector as well as self-employed workers. Also excluded were domestic workers -- largely women, and agricultural laborers, an occupation employing the vast majority of African Americans.

Since FDR laid the cornerstone, Old Age Insurance has expanded almost beyond recognition. Within four years it began covering widows and orphans, transforming Social Security into a family program. In 1950, Congress added coverage for domestic and agricultural laborers. An additional, grave risk -- disability -- was added later in the fifties, and Medicare, in the mid-1960s. In 1972, automatic cost-of-living increases began protecting retirement benefits against the risk of inflation.

Retirement benefits have increased in adequacy but are often too low, particularly for one-third of seniors whose principal income is social security -- a proportion increasing with the decline in private pensions.

Unemployment Insurance has been less expandable, but excluded groups were covered in 1970 when Congress also enacted automatic extension of weeks of coverage during recessions. While Old Age and Survivors' Insurance is almost universal, most jobless workers are still not eligible for Unemployment Insurance in ordinary times, although the proportion increases during recessions when so many more people are laid off.

But what is social security without a job?

That was the keystone, according to the report of the Cabinet-level Committee on Economic Security that planned the Social Security Act: "Since most people must live by work, the first objective in a program of economic security must be maximum employment." Headed by the first female Cabinet member, Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the Committee proposed "employment assurance" -- "that the federal government should stimulate private employment and provide employment for those able-bodied workers whom industry cannot employ." They observed that public-work programs are most necessary in periods of severe depression, but may also be needed in normal times.

Except for short-term unemployment, both Roosevelt and Federal Relief Administrator Harry Hopkins, preferred work to cash benefits. They considered a permanent government employment program for those still jobless after receiving short-term unemployment compensation, but the two elements were split into permanent but short Unemployment Insurance (only 16 weeks originally), and a temporary employment program, the famous Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA literally changed the face of this nation, vastly enriching our physical, social, and cultural resources, but it was terminated during World War II when full employment made such job creation temporarily unnecessary.

Thus, as Perkins wrote in the mid-1940s, "Unemployment Insurance stands alone as the only protection for people out of work."

What would Roosevelt, Hopkins, and Perkins have said when, during the Great Recession, many jobless workers collected extended unemployment benefits instead of being paid for work that would have benefitted not only them but all of us -- by repairing our decaying infrastructure, making our economy and the planet more sustainable, and providing sorely needed services.
Unemployment continues to undermine economic security and is neither short-term nor confined to deep economic downturns. Today, six years after the official end of the Great Recession, 20 million people are either jobless or forced to work part-time. The labor-force participation rate or proportion of working-age people either working or actively looking for work is the lowest since 1976. If it were the same as before the recession, the unemployment rate would be 7.3 percent, instead of 5.3 percent. Periods of unemployment, moreover, reduce workers' retirement benefits and rob the Social Security Trust Funds of revenues.

Enactment of pending legislation would come close to completing the Social Security edifice.

The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment & Training Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) commits the U.S. to full employment, the assurance of useful work at a living wage for all.  Paid for by a small tax on financial transactions, HR 1000 would create millions of new jobs in construction, infrastructure repair, energy and conservation, education, health care, human services, and neighborhood renovation. Such jobs could be targeted to neighborhoods like West Baltimore, where most adults are jobless.

Other pending legislation like Rep. Marcy Kaptur's (D-OH) 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps would create jobs and give the public a taste of how government job creation could preserve the nation's resources.

Let's observe Social Security's 80th birthday by taking steps toward employment assurance -- what its planners considered the keystone of economic security. Let's make their support of employment assurance a test of whether candidates for federal office in 2016 deserve our votes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. We demand our right to a Living Wage Job!!

Fast food workers, healthcare workers and their supporters shout slogans at a rally and march to demand an increase of the minimum wage in Los Angeles, Calif. on Dec. 4, 2014. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty)
Fast food workers, healthcare workers and their supporters shout slogans
at a rally and march to demand an increase of the minimum wage
in Los Angeles, Calif. on Dec. 4, 2014.  Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty



"…Where, after all, do universal rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he or she lives in; the school or college he or she attends; the factory, the farm or office where he or she works.
Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world…"
--Eleanor Roosevelt (1968) commenting on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

:"...It is the purpose of the Humphrey Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act (HR 1000) to expedite progress to fulfill the right to useful work at living wages for all persons seeking employment, as promptly as possible and at the earliest practicable date by establishing a Full Employment Trust Fund to fund  and operate a national program of public service employment and to provide additional labor market opportunities to complement those offered by the existing private, public, and nonprofit sectors."   -- HR 1000 (Full Text), introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) with 57 co-sponsors

December 10 is International Human Rights Day and the anniversary of the day that the Universal Declaration was adopted in 1948.  This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

For more info, visit >> 
http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/
www.PutAmericaToWork.net


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7/9, WED >> Jobs for All: Building the Movement for Full Employment



 
Live Webcast >> July 9 from 10:00 - 12:30 PM 
Jobs for All: Building the Movement for Full Employment

National Jobs For All Coalition
Join us for a strategy briefing to help build a national movement for full employment.
REACHING
FULL
EMPLOYMENT
In Conjunction With:
The Congressional Full Employment Caucus
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
10:00am-12:30pm*
2226 Rayburn HOB
*This meeting will kick off two days of dialogue among national and grassroots jobs creation advocates, for the purpose of developing a coordinated national strategy. An afternoon session, the same day, will address activity moving the coalition forward---participation would be welcomed and appreciated!
The National Jobs for All Coalition is dedicated to the propositions that meaningful employment is a precondition for a fulfilling life and that every person capable of working should have the right to a job. The Coalition not only fights to make these propositions facts of life, but it publishes invaluable research by noted scholars to support them.

Jobs for All Strategy Briefing
Representative John Conyers, Jr. (MI)
Representative Frederica Wilson (FL)
Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH)  
Representative Barbara Lee (CA)
 
Rev. Rodney S. Sadler, Jr., Ph.D.
Moral Monday
Associate Professor of Bible
Union Presbyterian Seminary
Debby Szeredy
Executive Vice President, American Postal Workers Union
 
Kevin Bradshaw
President, Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco, Workers
& Grain Millers Union Local 252G
Kellogg's Workers in Memphis, TN have been off the job since October 2013.
 
George H. Lambert, Jr.
President and CEO of the Greater Washington Urban League,
 
Philip Harvey
Professor of Law & Economics
Rutgers School of Law
Executive Committee, National Jobs for All Coalition
Josh Nassar
Legislative Director, United Auto Workers
Chris Horton
Worcester Unemployment Action Group (MA)
Voices of Unemployed Workers
   
Deborah Weinstein
Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs
 
Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg  
Chair, National Jobs for All Coalition
Professor Emerita of Social Policy, Adelphi University
Jessica Schieder
Policy Associate, Center for Effective Government
 
Lunch with Witness Wednesdays , the critical effort to renew extended unemployment benefits, will be at the Triangle on the Capitol Hill lawn.
 
Witness Wednesdays for July 9 will be hosted by Representative Barbara Lee (CA) and will feature the stories of unemployed African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans.
 
 
Strategy Session A, July 9,  2014
2226 Rayburn House Office Building
2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
 
Chuck Bell , Facilitator
National Jobs for All Coalition
Robert Creamer
Democracy Partners
 
Miriam Pemberton
Institute for Policy Studies
Bill Barclay
Chicago Political Economy Group
 
Andrea Miller
Progressive Democrats of America
 
Local Reports
 
Kae Halonen
South East Michigan Jobs with Justice
 
Sheena Foster
Worker's Interfaith Network, Memphis, TN
 
Rev. Glencie Rhedrick 
Mecklenburg Ministries, NC 
Clinton Smith
Gray Panthers, Austin, TX
Joel Segal
Progressive Democrats of America, VA
Former Senior Legislative Assistant, Representative John Conyers, Jr.
 
Leonard Mell
National Jobs for All Coalition, VA
 
Larry Bresler
Organize Ohio
 
More, TBA
__________________________________________________________________ 
 
Thursday Morning  Panel, July 10, 2014
10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
2226 Rayburn House Office Building
 
Logan Martinez ,   Facilitator
Miami Valley Full Employment Council and National Jobs for All Coalition
 
Frank Peterson
Unemployed Veteran
Other panelists, TBA 
Thursday afternoon we will be meeting members of the US Congress  regarding  job creation legislation
 
Conference Host
National Jobs for All Coalition
 



Jobs For All Campaign 

 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Join National Sign-On Campaign in support of HR 1000!


Jobs for All Campaign
Sign-on Letter in Support of Rep. John Conyers’ Jobs Legislation - HR 1000   The “Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment & Training Act”Preliminary list of endorsers - list in formation


Rodney S. Sadler, Jr., Ph.D, Associate Professor of Bible
Union Presbyterian Seminary
Moral Monday / Charlotte NAACP 

State Representative Barbara Cooper
Tennessee District 86 

Dayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO Central Labor Council
Charles Morton, Executive Director 


Gray Panthers, San Francisco Chapter 

Rev. Jerome McCorry

THE ADAM PROJECT
Dayton Ohio

A Peace of Mind
Carmen Gray
Cleveland Ohio

United Clevelanders Against Poverty
Diana King Chair
Cleveland, Ohio

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) - New York City Chapter
Eduardo Rosario
New York, NY

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom –
San Francisco Branch (WILPF-SF)
  
Public Citizen, Congress Watch
Micah Hauptman, Financial Policy Counsel

Rick D’Loss, National Chair 
Social Democrats USA
  
Dr. P. E. Henderson Jr.
Corinthian Baptist Church
Dayton, OH

Helen Lachs Ginsburg
Co-Chair, Columbia University Seminar on
Full Employment, Social Welfare and Equity
Professor Emerita of Economics
Brooklyn College--City University of New York

Gray Panthers  (National)
Washington, DC

Clinton Smith,
Texas Gray Panthers
Austin, TX

Gray Panthers, San Francisco Chapter
San Francisco, CA


Rev. Les Stansbery
Columbus, Ohio

Philip Harvey, Associate Professor of Law & Economics
Rutgers School of Law
Camden, NJ 

Eldon R. Clingan,
State Organizer, Massachusetts Social Democrats
Dedham, MA

Coalition of Labor Union Women, South Florida Chapter
Tanaka Charles, President (AFSCME)
Opa Locka, FL 

Memphis Workers' Center  
Workers Interfaith Network  
Alfredo Pena, Executive Director
Memphis, TN

Greater Charleston AFL-CIO Central Labor Council
Erin McKee, President, and President South Carolina AFL-CIO
Mt. Pleasant, SC

Dee R. Wernette, Ph.D., Activist Researcher 
Chicago, IL

Georgia Citizens' Coalition on Hunger
Carolyn Pittman, Executive Director
Atlanta, GA

College Hill Community Church
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Pastor Robert E. Jones
Dayton, OH
  
Community Organizing Center
Mark D. Stansbery
Columbus, OH
  
Arkansas Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice
Arkansas Interfaith Alliance.
Rev. Steve Copley
North Little Rock, AR  

South Eastern Michigan Jobs With Justice, 
Kae Halonen, Jobs Committee
  
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Miami, FL; Washington, DC; Los Angeles, CA
Detroit, MI; Albuquerque, NM; Oakland, CA;
New Orleans, LA; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; &
Philadelphia, PA
Britton Loftin, National Policy Coordinator
Washington, DC

Demos
Benjamin P. Peck, Senior Legislative and Policy Associate
Washington, DC

Chris Tilly, Professor
Department of Urban Planning, UCLA
Los Angeles, CA

New York City Council Progressive Caucus

Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Rabbi Michael Feinberg,  Executive Director
New York, NY

National Jobs for All Coalition
Trudy Goldberg, Chair

Chicago Political Economy Group
Bill Barclay
Oak Park IL 60302
  
U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)
Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator

Frank Stricker, Emeritus Professor of History and Labor
Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills, CA

Organize! Ohio
Larry Bresler
Cleveland, OH

Green For All
Kimberly Freeman Brown, DC Office Chief
Washington, DC

James C Clark, CEO
Rimson Development Corp (Detroit)
Detroit, MI

Association of UW Professionals (AFT Local 3535)
Bryan Kennedy, Ph.D. President, AFT-Wisconsin

Boston Democratic Socialists of America
Mike Pattberg, Boston DSA Exec Board
Boston, MA

People's Empowerment Coalition of Ohio
Lynn Williams, Contact Center
Cincinnati, OH

Coalition for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ)
Jesse Arms
 San Francisco, CA & Belleville, IL 

Advocacy and Education Committee (Community Action Partnership)
Carole L. Grimes, Chairwoman
Dayton, OH

Miami Valley Full Employment Council  
Tiki Kai-Krismano, Exec Board
Dayton, OH

George Friday
North Carolina Activist

Dayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO Central Labor Council
Charles Morton Executive Director

The Adam Project  
Rev. Jerome McCorry
Dayton Ohio

Virginia People's Assembly
Faber, VA

(To endorse the letter shown below, contact Logan Martinez -- loganmartinez2u [at] yahoo.com)

Jobs for All Campaign
Quality Jobs with a Living Wage and a Voice in the Workplace

Dear Friends,

US Representative John Conyers has reintroduced jobs legislation HR 1000. It is the most significant jobs creation bill in recent times. The “Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment & Training Act” is a comprehensive and innovative federal and local government job creation and training bill that would create millions of new jobs for the nation’s unemployed. It targets the long-term unemployed and poor communities that are being left behind. The bill will be funded by a financial transactions tax on stocks and bonds.
         
We are very exited by the legislation and its potential role in mobilizing a larger movement for jobs. Below is the sign-on letter in support of HR 1000, We are seeking organizational and individual endorsements. Our goal is to have as many local, state and national organizations as possible endorse the bill over the next several months. This effort is key in making job creation by the federal government a national priority. Please forward this e-mail to key contacts with a note of your support. Let us know of any endorsements you are able to secure.  Thanks.

For Jobs & Peace,

Logan Martinez         
Outreach Coordinator        
The National Jobs for All Coalition / Jobs for All Campaign
Email: loganmartinez2u [at] yahoo.com 


Please click here H.R.1000 for the complete text, summary and cosponsors for the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act.




Jobs for All Campaign

Sign-on Letter in Support of Rep. John Conyers’ Jobs Legislation - HR 1000  The “Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment & Training Act”


Dear Member of Congress,

We are writing on behalf of the members of our organizations urging you to cosponsor and pass into law Representative John Conyers’ bill, H.R. 1000, the Humphrey Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act. This legislation would create a national public jobs program to complement job creation by the private sector. Ultimately, it would ensure full employment, so that every American seeking work would have a job.
We're facing a severe jobs crisis. The economy is consistently failing to create sufficient new jobs to sustain the struggling recovery. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate was 7.5% in April. While 12 million Americans are "officially" unemployed, millions of others have given up looking for work entirely. More than 17 million Americans are currently unemployed, and millions more remain underemployed. 4.6 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months, and more than 3 million have been out of work for at least a year.
Economists, as well as religious, civil society, political, and other leaders from across the political spectrum agree: Creating jobs is preferable to providing government assistance. Persistent joblessness devastates families, communities, and our economy, drives up our deficit, and weakens our nation. The Humphrey Hawkins Act would solve this crisis.
Philip Harvey, Professor of Law and Economics at the Rutgers School of Law, estimates The Humphrey Hawkins Act would provide resources to businesses, states and localities to directly create 3.1 to 6.2 million jobs, and 1 to 2 million additional jobs indirectly within two years. The National Full Employment and Training Trust Fund—supported by a modest levy on financial transactions—would finance creation of these new jobs.

New jobs would provide opportunity and security to millions of Americans who would also benefit from improved infrastructure including newer, safer, and better roads, dams, bridges, community facilities, schools, libraries, parks, and more. New hires would quickly begin work improving and repairing our dangerously distressed infrastructure, providing child and elder care, offering job training and other education. Communities could hire more police, first responders, teachers, and similar public servants.
We the undersigned strongly urge you to cosponsor H.R. 1000 and to work with your colleagues in Congress to pass this jobs-creating legislation into law as a top priority.
Thank you.
Sincerely, 

Endorsers [list in formation  - see above]

(To endorse this letter, contact Logan Martinez -- loganmartinez2u [at] yahoo.com)