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America’s Future Depends on Jobs

I have a program on Sirius XM radio called “American Voices” in which I interview people about their lives. Each show, I talk to someone who has an unusual job – a boat captain at the mouth of the Columbia River, a groundskeeper at Fenway Park, a public health nurse in the Aleutian Islands, or a man who washes the windows of New York City skyscrapers. Each conversation is about the dignity and nobility of work. When you work at something you love, whatever it is, your chances for self-fulfillment and prosperity dramatically increase.
Today there are 22 million Americans who want to work but can’t find a job. And 46 million people live in poverty. That’s the highest number in history – higher even than during the Great Depression. Real median per capita income in the United States in 2010 was the same as it was in 1996, which means that the middle class is stuck and losing ground.

In the last decade alone, 40,000 American factories have closed, and 6 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared. This is not only an economic tragedy, but a personal tragedy for the millions of people who now have to worry if they can in fact ever provide a better life for their kids.

That’s why Create Jobs for USA – started by Starbucks and Opportunity Finance Network – is so important.  It won’t solve the problem of unemployment, but it’s an example of what one company, a group of citizens and each of us as individuals, can do to help.  That’s why I’m contributing all the royalties for any sale in a Starbucks store of my new book, We Can All Do Better, to the Create Jobs for USA Program.

America’s future depends on us creating more jobs paying higher incomes. We can do that by passing laws which ensure if a company hires an additional worker and lays no one off, the federal government will pay 30% of that person’s salary for two years. And we can do that by funding significant infrastructure projects that generate 5 million jobs. We can do this by reducing the uncertain future represented by the budget deficit, thereby encouraging non-financial U.S. corporations to use some of the $1.8 trillion in cash and liquid assets they now have on their books to actually hire U.S. workers. If just 20% of that money was spent on hiring at the median yearly income of $49,000, our unemployment rate would plunge to 5%.
But as Create Jobs for USA shows, government and the private sector can’t do it all alone. It takes individual citizens to step forward and contribute too. At root, we have to ask ourselves the basic question: What do we owe another human being, just because he or she is a human being?  One of the things we owe them is the chance to express the dignity of work. To make that a reality for more people once again will take farsighted political leadership, committed corporate leadership and dedicated citizens to make America what America can be.



comments (14)

Comment FAQ

    • 11/13/2012 12:39 PM

    But Jack of Maine, whether people like it or not there are folks who think same sex marriage is right and okay and there are people who don't think it is okay and right. Each side has their individual opinions that they fight for under the freedom we have in America. Gays have used the American system to gain what they have gained. So too, if people think it is wrong, then they can use the American system to try and turn it back around or not. It's America.

    • Mish7mish
    • 12/3/2012 6:45 AM

    Britain's future also depends on jobs. And Starbucks could do something
    to help by paying the same level of corporation tax as British companies.
    I will not buy any of your products until I have heard that you are.

    • astavisky
    • 12/3/2012 5:15 PM

    Bill, you've got some of this wrong. You never want the government to hand out money (my money) for anything. When a politician gets and dollar in his pocket he likes where his hand is.
    The whole idea of the American dream is not just the right to work but to follow a life-path as one wishes; knowing that some people will make poor choices, it's the job of the politician to stomach the outcome and to remove the impediments for the rest of us. Just keep the country safe, we can handle the rest

    • thebuzzed
    • 1/21/2013 10:46 PM

    Bill you had a great hook shot at Princeton. How come you never used it with the Knicks?

    • jennifermoore89
    • 1/26/2013 6:12 PM

    How can individual citizens to step forward and contribute when alot of jobs out there are looking for ether experience or a colledge education if you as person are just graduating high school alot of jobs are not avaible to this group, Alot of jobs in the US if you dont have some form of colledge education wont even look at your application for EX Mcdonalds they are now looking for individuals with a colledge background because the one where i live and others that i personaly have applied to

    • jennifermoore89
    • 1/26/2013 6:18 PM

    (continued) want that icing on the cake so to speak it is not enough that a capable citizen is looking to work at the astablishment no now you need a colledge education to flip a f***ing buger it is outragous what componies want and this was in 2009 fresh out of high school daploma and everything and it wasn't enough unless more entry level jobs can be made and we as a whole cut back shipping our products to be made over seas this ecomoney will never get better there will always be a high

    • jennifermoore89
    • 1/26/2013 6:24 PM

    (continued) number for unemployment a high number for poverty a high number for people of the US who want to work but cant seem to find a job and just stop looking. Then there are the People that do have experience alot of the times companies will say you have to much and wont hire them do to that reason.for EX my mother who is 51 years of age as enough work experience to get any job she wanted and companiese will not hire her do to this reason she has entery level and managerial experience and

    • jennifermoore89
    • 1/26/2013 6:33 PM

    (continued) companies simply will not look twice because of this reason she has a job and has had one for years it was the fact that personal cercumstances are changing and she wanted something closer to her home. So unless companiese all over are willing to lower thier standards and are willing to pay a little more for their products to be made simple fact of the matter at hand is this cumbling job economey will cease to existed.

    • imawriter23112
    • 2/14/2013 12:26 PM

    How about hiring customer service reps who actually provide customer service?

    I have had an unresolved issue with YOUR customer service department for FOUR MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have contacted your company via email (so that I would have a paper trail) to no avail. Your company has blatantly stolen my money and will not return it. I need this issue resolved TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 4/10/2013 5:39 AM

    It's a shame that, while publicly cheerleading for the creation of high-quality jobs, Starbucks itself doesn't offer those jobs. I worked at a Starbucks and the pay was $8.24 per hour--nice as a second income or for insurance, but woefully insufficient to raise an American out of poverty. It'd be nice if Starbucks put its money where its mouth is.

    • 5/2/2013 6:43 PM honest, this is about getting the working class to subsidize lower labor costs for corporate entities. Why in hell should taxpayers subsidize salaries? Here's an alternative idea...why doesn't every CEO in a U.S. registered company whose salary exceeds 1 million USD per year contribute 25% of that salary to a fund that provides free academic or vocational educational programs for America's youth as long as they reciprocate with 1000 volunteer hours for every year they get free educati

    • 5/2/2013 6:47 PM

    Here's another idea...why don't we reform the curriculum in every MBA program to include material on the coop model as a viable alternative to investor own businesses? Coops can not only create jobs, but create jobs with true equity participation in the net profits of the entity they work for....and please don't call this socialism. COOPs offer true participation in a companies success.

    • 5/2/2013 6:50 PM

    Oh yeah...and maybe corporate America could kick in another 5% of their gross revenues to American schools so that people like jennifermoore89 above can post in a public forum and actually sound literate. No wonder she's having a hard time...she can barely speak the English language. Our schools are failing our youth...where exactly are they to draw courage and inspiration from when they're fundamentally illiterate.

    • 11/23/2013 4:10 PM

    like Laura said I'm taken by surprise that a student can get paid $8347 in a few weeks on the internet. check my source

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