The federal government must eventually adopt the concept of becoming the employer of last resort with a job guarantee. There is a vast unfulfilled need for labor to perform jobs that don’t equate to profit, but would repair our social fabric. These could be managed locally, but must be funded with the power of the sovereign currency at the federal level. Local leadership could define the needs of the community in categories and displaced workers could be assigned to those according to their skills and training.
If such a program were continuous, not simply in response to downturns in the business cycle, it would replace the minimum wage, offering employers the ability to to utilize factors other than simple wages to attract workers. It would also present bad employers with real penalties for their poor choices that would not depend upon regulation. Even hard line conservatives would have difficulty arguing that giving workers a choice that didn’t entail further impoverishment isn’t how the free market should work.
As technology displaces workers at an increasing rate we will be faced with the choice of supporting a large number in the population with simple monetary means, or utilizing the skills and desire to remain productive that all people possess. If we make the right choice our society can profit from the technology at all levels, not just at the bottom line of business. Capitalism runs primarily on sales, and sales runs on the income of the consumer. We can use socialism to save capitalism in its true sense, or we can watch it devour itself from the tail if we feel constrained by ideology and are willing to accept the damage its death throes will inflict.