Opinion

Is a job guarantee the answer to Australia's economic woes?

By Adam Triggs
Updated July 1 2021 - 5:39pm, first published August 24 2020 - 6:30pm
It's easy to see why a job guarantee appeals in a time of mass unemployment - but it is plagued by challenges. Picture: Shutterstock

It's no wonder people like the concept of a job guarantee - the idea of the government as the employer of last resort, promising a job to anyone who wants one. It would avoid the catastrophic and well-documented social, economic, political and cultural costs of long-term unemployment on families, health, life expectancy and communities. And economists love that it's an "automatic fiscal stabiliser": it increases government spending when the economy is weak by funding the guaranteed jobs, and reduces it as the economy recovers. So, if the benefits of a job guarantee are so big, what's the problem?

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