Mitchell says governments were remarkably successful at providing jobs to people who needed them and there’s nothing stopping them from doing so again. The key to doing it then, and in the future, he says, is having a public sector “buffer stock” of jobs. “In Australia – and I’m pretty sure the same sort of structure operated in New Zealand – you could always get a job in some public sector area,” he says. He’s not wrong. In 1952 in New Zealand, there were just two people receiving the unemployment benefit and 50 registered as unemployed.
It’s understandable why Biden might avoid the branding. For many moderates and conservatives, including our president, the phrase “green new deal” itself has become a shorthand for leftist overreach. In part, that’s because no one group can really claim complete ownership of the idea and some maximalist versions favored by young activists have included things like Medicare for All and a federal jobs guarantee, along with zeroing out carbon emissions, which make their proposals look a bit like democratic-socialist wish lists disguised as plans to stop global warming.