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Memo to the Punditocracy: Public Sector Jobs Are Real Jobs!

Full employment should be front and center on our national agenda. So why are even liberals attacking public jobs and vocations?

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The point is that no capitalist society has ever managed to operate at anything approaching true, full, employment on a consistent basis. Further, the burden of joblessness is borne unequally, always concentrated among groups that already face other disadvantages: racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, younger and older individuals, women, people with disabilities, and those with lower educational attainment. Since markets do not operate to achieve full employment, and because markets tend to leave behind the least advantaged members of society, government should and must play a role in providing jobs to achieve social justice.  There is nothing to be ashamed about in acknowledging this fact.  In reality, it is a goal that we should embrace with the same kind of passion Kennedy evoked when he promised a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. The real myth, of course, is that President Obama is afraid to make this case, a tragic omen if we are to avoid the dystopian future feared by visionaries such as John Maynard Keynes and Charles Killingsworth.

Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and commentator.