There’s no doubt that the main challenge facing America at this point in time is jobs. There simply aren’t enough new positions being created to fill the needs of the new workers entering the labor force every month, let alone reduce unemployment that continues to hover stubbornly close to 10 percent.
The Washington Post is publishing a series on different tactics that the government and the country could use to restore full employment and get economy back on track. The first expert they call upon is Andy Stern, a Senior Research Fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and the former president of the influential Service Employees International Union.
Stern calls for three major policy points. The first is a $30 billion infrastructure bank; extremely similar to the one proposed by President Barack Obama, and paid for by a foreign corporate earnings repatriation tax break.
The second would benefit young workers – who are suffering disproportionately from unemployment, with 16-to-24-year-olds representing 13 percent of the labor force but 26 percent of the unemployed. Stern wants to create programs which he refers to as "AmeriCorps and the Kennedy National Service bill ‘On Steroids.’" Effectively, it would offer every young person who needs a job an opportunity to get work experience and perform some national service.
The third, and likely most controversial, aspect of Stern’s plan is a job sharing program, effectively subsidizing employers who lower hours and use savings to hire more workers, rather than firing workers and stretching the remaining staff thinner. It’s this third proposal, however, that will likely turn unions against Stern’s ideas – unions are historically hostile to job sharing programs.