economic inequality

Should the federal government guarantee a job to every American?



Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “Yes. [Sanders] believes that in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, every American who wants to work should have the right to a decent-paying job through a federal jobs guarantee program. There is an enormous amount of work that has to be done all the way from child care to health care to education to rebuilding our infrastructure to combating climate change to dealing with our growing elderly population,” he told The Post.

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Bernie Sanders

Open to it

Open to it

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “I have introduced the only bill to test the promise and potential of a federal jobs guarantee legislation in Congress — the Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act. The bill would establish a three-year pilot program across 15 cities and rural communities to guarantee a job with a living wage and meaningful benefits to any person who wants one,” Booker told The Post.

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Cory Booker

Kamala D. Harris (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, California

Harris is no longer running for president. Harris co-sponsored the Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act, which would test a jobs guarantee in areas that have a high unemployment rate.

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Kamala Harris

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. “I have supported Cory Booker’s legislation to establish a pilot program to provide grants for job guarantee programs,” Warren told The Post. “We need to create good American jobs and I have plans to do that.” She cited her green manufacturing plan, which she said "will create more than one million good jobs at home” and her clean energy plan, which would create “good union jobs, with prevailing wages determined through collective bargaining, for millions of skilled and experienced workers.”

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Elizabeth Warren



Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Our responsibility is to ensure that the 21st century economy provides quality, good-paying jobs to American workers,” Biden told The Post. “As automation continues to grow, it’s possible that down the line we may need to guarantee a job for every American, but we are not there. At this moment, we must ensure that our workers have the skills they need to succeed in the workforce and to support their families.”

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Joe Biden

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. “Every American worker should be able to get a job that pays a living wage with fair working conditions. But the government shouldn’t provide most of those jobs directly,” Bennet told The Post. “Instead, we can support worker training for good jobs and help employers afford to hire and invest in those workers. My plan invests $500 billion in proven, job-driven models to help the 70 percent of American workers who don’t have a four-year college degree get ahead.”

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Michael Bennet

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. “It’s essential that anybody who wants to work should be able to find a good, well-paid job,” Bloomberg told The Post. “My administration will focus on making that a reality – by expanding public investment, raising the minimum wage, cutting taxes for the low-paid, devoting major new resources to training, technical education and apprenticeship programs, supporting workers in moving from old industries to new, and helping small businesses get started and succeed. If all that fails, there’s a case for making the government the employer of last resort, but let’s focus on growing the economy first.”

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Mike Bloomberg

Steve Bullock (Dropped out)

Governor, Montana

Bullock is no longer running for president. “Every American deserves a living wage and a fair shot at success, and I will fight to build an economy that creates opportunities for all,” Bullock told The Post. “My plan to improve economic opportunity includes increasing funding for apprenticeships, raising the minimum wage, and strengthening unions.”

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Steve Bullock

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. “No, but the federal government should massively invest in climate and other infrastructure projects that will expand job opportunities for all Americans as well as dramatically expand paid national service opportunities,” Buttigieg told The Post. “Through my climate plan, “ Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge,” we will create 3 million well-paying jobs with strong worker protections by building a net-zero emissions grid, transportation sector, and building sector.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. “No, but the federal government should build infrastructure to create jobs,” Delaney told The Post.

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John Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. “Really what we need to do is look at how we can best serve the interests of the American people. I do not believe a federal jobs guarantee is the way to do that,” Gabbard said at the October Democratic debate. “The value that someone feels in themselves and their own lives is not defined by the job that they have but is intrinsic to who we all are as Americans, whatever we choose to do with our lives, and we can't forget that.”

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Tulsi Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar does not think the federal government should guarantee a job to every American, she told The Post.

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Amy Klobuchar

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. Patrick does not support a jobs guarantee, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

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Deval Patrick

Joe Sestak (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak is no longer running for president. “No, though if my infrastructure plan is approved, we will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs,” Sestak told The Post.

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Joe Sestak

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. Steyer does not support a federal jobs guarantee, he told The Post.

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Tom Steyer

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)


Williamson is no longer running for president. “We can create millions of jobs by addressing pressing needs, such as launching a Green New Deal, caring for children and the elderly, and repairing and replacing aging infrastructure like roads, bridges and water systems,” Williamson told The Post. “We need a massive mobilization to transition to a clean, green economy that will create jobs in producing clean energy, modernizing and expanding public transportation, and preparing communities to adapt to climate change.”

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Marianne Williamson

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. Yang “doesn’t support a federal jobs guarantee. Most people don’t want to work for the government,” his campaign told The Post. “It creates issues of management, and it raises the question of what to do with people who aren’t good at the job assigned to them. A more direct way to address the problem is to invest in people and let them create the jobs doing the work that is needed in their communities.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang

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Background Under an employment guarantee, every American would be entitled to a job on a project throughout the United States aimed at addressing priorities such as infrastructure or the environment, or receive job training to be able to do so. Economists, including some Democrats, say there would be large logistical and practical challenges in ensuring millions of new federal jobs serve productive ends.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic presidential campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. economic policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role, and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports and surveys. See something we missed? Let us know.

This page will update as we learn more about the candidates’ plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president. If a candidate dropped out after a question was published here, their stance is included under the "Show former candidates" option. If they dropped out before a question was first published, the Post did not reach out to get their stance.

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Candidate illustrations by Ben Kirchner.