Why We’re Watching the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act

The 21st Century Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act (H.R. 1000) currently has 50 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and we’re hoping it gets some movement soon. The current austerity campaign is hurting our recovery and especially job growth.

Rather than focusing on cutting government assistance for the unemployed and underemployed, we would like Congress to be focused on creating jobs and in investing in America. 

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. introduced the bill to set a national goal of providing jobs for all with living wages. While the bill would create temporary jobs to reduce unemployment, these jobs would come with training and skill building to create a more resilient work force. More importantly, the jobs would be focused on reducing disparities in health, housing, education, job readiness, and public infrastructure.

The jobs are created and funded by a new small financial transaction tax (FTT) on stock trading transactions. Exemptions are provided for retirement accounts and long-term investments, and it would target high-volume, high-speed training, which are transactions that create a volatile market.

In the first two years alone, the bill is expected to be able to fund 3.1 to 6.2 million new jobs with this tax on Wall Street. 

But what we’re happiest to see is a focus on specifically providing disadvantaged youth with employment opportunities, and ensuring that at least 35 percent of the employees hired under the grant have been unemployed for more than 30 days. The current economy is worse for the long-term unemployed, and even worse for disadvantaged youth. The current unemployment rate for all is around 7.4%, but the unemployment rate for youth is 16%. The later that youth enter the workforce, the longer they stay at the bottom of the economy. And as we’re currently seeing, even if the top of the economy is doing better than ever, a true recovery won’t happen unless we’re all better off.

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