A new Rasmussen poll shows that 46% of Americans are on board with the latest crazy idea from self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders: A guaranteed government job for every adult in the United States. And with prominent Democrats like Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand tripping over themselves to attach their names to the policy, it seems inevitable that we will see this proposal on the 2020 campaign trail. Democrats, watching Sanders explode in popularity in 2016, are convinced that there no longer is such a thing as “too far left.” They’ve realized that their voters – or at least a healthy percentage of them – are no longer dissuaded by simple questions like, “Uh, how are you going to pay for that?”
It’s funny, but we heard that Hillary Clinton said in a speech this week that one of the reasons she lost the election was that too many Democrat voters were now socialists and they didn’t like the fact that she was a capitalist. Now, we’ve heard Hillary say some strange things when it comes to excusing away her loss to Trump, but we kinda think she might be onto something with this one. Because for all the problems with Hillary, being too far to the left really isn’t one of them. Too far left for our liking, of course – she is a Democrat, after all – but she’s relatively centrist as far as her party is concerned.
And it’s clear that the energy on the Democrat side of the aisle is not coming from the centrist wing.
But let’s go back to this latest Big Idea from the Sanders camp, because the proposal to guarantee a job to every American isn’t just a “socialist” concept, it’s downright Communist. As a sharp editorial in Investors’ Business Daily points out, there was a country that tried this idea before:
The Soviets wrote a jobs guarantee into the USSR’s constitution in 1936.
Article 118 said: “Citizens of the U.S.S.R. … are guaranteed the right to employment and payment for their work in accordance with its quantity and quality.
“The right to work is ensured by the socialist organization of the national economy, the steady growth of the productive forces of Soviet society, the elimination of the possibility of economic crises, and the abolition of unemployment.”
When the Soviet government updated its constitution in 1977, it moved the jobs guarantee up to Article 40, and rephrased it a bit to make it clear that they meant a right to “guaranteed employment,” with pay at or above the “state established minimum” wage.
We all know how well that experiment in guaranteed employment turned out.
IBD noted that the Rasmussen poll did not talk about how much such a proposal would cost (and certainly didn’t point out the Soviet heritage of the plan), so the idea’s popularity could easily take a tumble once challenged by some facts and figures.
But on that score, they are more optimistic than we are. We’ve watched Democrats shrug their shoulders when it comes to the cost of free college and the cost of universal healthcare, so we doubt they’ll reach the breaking point when it comes to the cost of guaranteed jobs. They seem to imagine that there is a massive, unlimited money spigot somewhere in the middle of Washington that could, if turned on, magically solve all of America’s problems. And any politician who comes along with the promise to crank that faucet may well find themselves the 2020 Democratic Party nominee.