The American economy can produce decent jobs. We know this to be true because it has happened before. Getting back to a decent-jobs economy will require a commitment on the part of policymakers to creating many more middle-skill, middle-wage jobs. While there are important reasons to support the incomes of those at the bottom of the wage distribution, we will not improve the lives of working families without improving and increasing job opportunities in the middle.
To create decent jobs we must, first and foremost, pull our economy out of its current economic malaise. Policymakers should do so with an eye to the long-term, however, and not sacrifice basic labor standards. New jobs should include access to benefits such as health insurance as well as paid sick days and family leave. How we develop policies around investment, both in physical and human capital and labor standards, including the role of unions, will be critical to whether our economy creates decent jobs.
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