Sept. 16, 2016
Michael Lind wrote for the New York Times about good lives and good jobs:
Should the goal of public policy be to ensure that all Americans can have good jobs — or good lives? Politicians of both parties say one thing. Policy experts of both parties say another.
Politicians routinely promise that, if elected, they will create more good jobs, which are understood to be jobs with solid wages, regular hours and, perhaps, generous employer-provided benefits. In this campaign year, Hillary Clinton promises “the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II” by means of a mixture of tough trade negotiations, investment in domestic manufacturing, infrastructure investment, research and development, regulatory relief for small business, debt-free higher education and a tax credit to subsidize apprenticeships. Donald Trump proposes to protect American workers from competition with illegal immigrants, the offshoring of jobs by United States-based corporations and harmful practices by trading partners like China.
Far from the campaign stops, in university and think tank offices, the emerging consensus is quite different: Americans should be able to enjoy good lives, even if they have “bad” jobs — jobs with low wages, irregular hours and no employer-provided benefits. Bipartisan experts tend to agree that the decline in employer-provided benefits and the rise of unconventional work arrangements are trends that should be accommodated, by reforms including new portable benefits and expanded income maintenance programs, like tax credits for low-income workers.