Employment policies to get Americans working again

Policymakers need an approach to reforming our labor-market policies that empowers individuals and supports their aspirations—giving them the chance to lead flourishing lives through work. -MICHAEL R. STRAIN

Though the Great Recession ended in 2009, you’d never know it from the millions of Americans suffering from long-term unemployment. Michael R. Strain reminds us of the tragic consequences of long-term unemployment, and the alarming decline in male labor force participation that seems to have accelerated in recent years.

To put Americans back to work, Strain offers a new conservative employment agenda that would roll back licensing requirements; offer relocation assistance in place of continued unemployment benefits; temporarily lower minimum wages for the long-term unemployed with a temporary subsidy; offer tax credits for those hiring long-term unemployed; and promote worksharing programs to prevent layoffs. More ambitiously, he recommends expanding the earned-income tax credit to make work more attractive to childless workers.

Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.