It is the government’s job to deliver full employment. And it’s failing

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Every now and again the Guardian slips through a Modern Monetary Theory editorial. Today is one of those days. It begins:

A great deal of poverty in Britain can be blamed on joblessness, insufficient hours of work, and low pay. The pandemic has emphasised that the penury that too many suffer in this country is nothing to do with the shortcomings of workers. It is do with a shortage of work.

It ends by saying:

In the UK there will be an estimated million under-25s looking for work in the next year. Mr Sunak’s Kickstart job-creation scheme is too small and too reliant on private companies to help much. The government should make the public sector the employer of last resort, offering a job guarantee scheme – like that proposed by the economist Bill Mitchell – with a buffer stock of state-supported employment that expands or contracts with the business cycle. New Covid-19 vaccines will, hopefully, end the public health crisis. But the unemployment crisis will remain. Time is running out for Mr Sunak to act and ensure that a generation is not sacrificed on the altar of ideology.

In between it makes the point that universal credit must be in creased in the short term but that more fundamental reforms are also required:

Covid-19 has revealed that nobody but the government can take responsibility for maintaining the total level of spending in the economy at a level that keeps the country as close to full employment as possible, where a working week is at a reasonable length and paid at a reasonable wage. The Bank of England has injected £350bn into the banking system this year and has had little effect on the real economy. That is why the Bank, along with the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, has called for governments to spend.

This is right, of course. But is anyone in Downing Street listening? There is no sign of it.

In which case the message has to be repeated time and again.