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Politics & Current Affairs

Decoupling Benefits and Employers May Help Create an Economy for Everyone

STEM careers and technology start-ups are all the rage, but national labor statistics present a different reality: most job growth will occur in fields that require far different skill sets.

STEM careers and technology start-ups are all the rage, and certainly the kinds of education and training required for those fields are worthwhile. But national labor statistics present a different reality: only around thirty percent of the Millennial generation will receive a four-year undergraduate college degree and “the top ten jobs with the greatest numerical growth are mostly jobs with lower wages and few skill requirements.”

Given that no generation has been as affected as Millennials by an economic downturn since the Great Depression, Michael Lind, Policy Director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation, argues that a new social contract is needed for Americans.

“[T]he most promising approach to a new social contract, one which finds assent from many reform conservatives as well as progressives, would be to sever the link between benefits and particular employers. The Affordable Care Act already provides two systems-expanded Medicaid and the exchanges-that allow individuals without employer coverage to obtain health insurance. Fewer Americans receiving healthcare from their employers over time could accelerate the transition to a universal, individual-based system.”

Lind argues that relying on employers to provide a social safety net is bad for businesses, because it dramatically increases costs, and obviously bad for the unemployed (that rate remains at 6.9 percent for those aged 25-34). 

In his Big Think interview, Leif Pagrotsky describes how a generous social system in Sweden removes fear and uncertainty from the economy, allowing people more opportunities for entrepreneurship:

Read more at Vox

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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