Human Development: Still believe ‘Work Will Win’?

http://www.readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-0321ov_WWII_Work_Production_Poster.jpgOne of many posters that spread across America during World War II from the U.S. Office for Emergency Management War Production Board. In public domain.THE U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE declined to 7.7% in February, the lowest level since 2008. But job creation remains a top priority.

Would you be willing to pay more taxes to create more jobs? Here are two job-creation proposals. Suppose it were Election Day and you could vote for or against these proposed programs, as well as candidates. Would you vote for or against?

PROPOSAL 1: A federal program that would spend government money to put people to work on urgent infrastructure repairs.

PROPOSAL 2: A federal jobs creation law that would spend government money for a program designed to create more than 1 million new jobs.

Americans overwhelmingly say they support job creation programs, even when they require government spending, according to a Gallup survey this month. More than seven of ten Americans (72%) would vote for the first proposal, and the same proportion would vote for the second one. Even a majority of Republicans would vote in favor of both programs, though the level of support among Democrats is much higher.

Obama proposed these programs and others—but with Washington gridlocked over tax policy, entitlement programs, and spending cuts, it seems unlikely that a majority of our elected leaders would actually vote for these proposals.

This stands in sharp contrast to the pro-development, activist governments behind the spectacular rise of the Global South. Job creation is a priority for economic growth and human development, according to the United Nations’ 2013 Human Development report we’ve discussed all week. But it’s also a political necessity: Governments that don’t prioritize job creation face discontent, dissatisfaction, and protests by the increasing numbers of educated young people.

There have been eras when the U.S. government was far more united in promoting full employment—at all costs. One of them was World War II, when official national slogans promoted this goal: “Work Will Win,” “Every Hour You Work Will Save Kids’ Lives,” “Work the Way They Fight and We Will Win.” During that global conflict, Washington D.C. poured money into mobilization of every possible worker, as well as every possible fighting man.

What do you think of the South’s example?

Is the World War II example relevant today?

If Gallup asked you: Which of the 2 proposals, above, do you support?

Please, leave a Comment below.

Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.

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