A reasoned appeal to make the problem of unemployment a national priority from Senator Simon (D., Ill.), who offers a comprehensive and imaginative plan of remedial action. Simon proposes a so-called Guaranteed Job Opportunity Program. In brief, this federally funded, locally administered endeavor would provide work for any qualified citizens over 18 who wanted it, paying them the minimum wage for 32 hours per week--or 10 percent more than welfare grants or unemployment compensation, whichever is greater. Jobs would be made available through district councils on a project basis, following guidelines established by the Secretary of Labor. Among other provisions, the program would require participants without high-school diplomas to take night or weekend courses and eventually secure an equivalency certificate; all job holders would be encouraged to seek employment in the private sector on the fifth (non-work) day purposely left free for this purpose. While guaranteed jobs are the centerpiece of Simon's program, he urges concurrent action in such areas as fiscal policy, trade, and education. The author includes detailed projections of probable costs, which net out at approximately $8 billion annually for 3 million jobs. He maintains, though, that his program would yield sizable if indeterminate savings for state and municipal governments, plus a wealth of intangible benefits, including lower crime and higher literacy rates. In the event, Simon argues, the human and social costs of failing to tackle unemployment are unacceptable in a prosperous democracy like the US. In brief, then, thoughtfully and persuasively presented recommendations for dealing with a too-durable problem.
Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1986
Page Count: -
Publisher: Bonus Books (160 E. Illinois St., Chicago, IL 60611)