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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Public Job Creation: Lessons From the Past, Realities of the Present, and Possibilities for the Future
Nicholas Brunick
REPORT 2000 B836 Public Affairs Library

Public job creation usually conjures up images of "leaf raking," government waste, and a policy measure to be used only during the worst of economic crises on behalf of the "worst off" people. However, this report draws on the political and programmatic lessons from history, the needs within our current economy and the political realities facing public job creation today in order to outline a new vision for public jobs in the 21st Century. Our economy currently faces employment gaps, a vast deficit in public goods and investment, and a growing low-wage labor market. Empirical evidence shows that public job creation can address these gaps by increasing the amount of living wage work and providing desperately needed public goods and investment. However, organizing will be required to combat past perceptions and overcome current political realities. Through community-based initiatives, public job creation can develop the political backing, programmatic success, and institutional legitimacy necessary to become a viable tool for ensuring economic security and broadly-shared prosperity for all Americans.