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Mapping the loss of "Full Employment" from the Democratic Party Platform
Control F search has never yielded more disturbing results. We all know full employment policy was abandoned, but I didn't realize the extent at which not even lip service was paid to the term. Putting real Full Employment front and center back in the Party Platform should be the main agenda for progressive Democrats in 2020.
In 1980 the Democratic Party Platform there was this: "Full Employment—We specifically reaffirm our commitment to achieve all the goals of the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act within the currently prescribed dates in the Act, especially those relating to a joint reduction in unemployment and inflation. Full employment is important to the achievement of a rising standard of living, to the pursuit of sound justice, and to the strength and vitality of America." And this: "We will adopt a full employment policy, with increased possibilities for part-time work." And finally: "We will continue to work toward full employment in recognition of the importance of self-support."
By 1984, this was reduced to "job skills development programs":
"—a commitment to full employment. We believe the federal government must develop a major, comprehensive national job skills development policy targeted on the chronically unemployed and underemployed." They also said this: "—We need a vigorous, open and fair trade policy 'that builds America's competitive strength, and that allows our nation to remain an advanced, diversified economy while promoting full employment and raising living standards in the United States and other countries of the world; opens overseas markets for American products; strengthens the international economic system; assists adjustment to foreign competition; and recognizes the legitimate interests of American workers, farmers and businesses."
In 1988, it's "training and development programs": "We believe that, as a first-rate world power moving into the 21st century, we can have a first-rate full employment economy, with an indexed minimum wage that can help lift and keep families out of poverty, with training and employment programs—including child care and health care—that can help people move from welfare to work...."
In 1992 there was no usage of the phrase "full employment" whatsoever. Remember, 1992 was the "It's the Economy, Stupid" election and the Democrats weren't even talking about "full employment".
The term does not reappear in any Democratic Party Platform until 2016, and only in reference to protecting the Fed's "independence": "We will protect and defend the Federal Reserve’s independence to carry out the dual mandate assigned to it by Congress—for both full employment and low inflation—against threats from new legislation." (see last link below).