I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom this week, but it sure feels like things are falling apart all around us: food shortages, rising unemployment, riots. I think we’re in for a really nasty summer, but I hope I’m wrong.
We’ve been muddling through longer than we realize. While gas prices have only shot up in the past five months, people have been dropping out of the workforce for a good while now. Back in the Obama years, conservatives used to mock (rightly) the government’s unemployment figures for leaving out the labor force participation rate, which was pretty paltry back then (something like only 60-70% of working aged people were actually actively looking for work; the unemployment rate was based off that portion, rather than all working aged adults).
Now we’re in the midst of what the mainstream media is calling “The Great Resignation,” with millions of Americans quitting their jobs. That’s due in part, I believe, to the generous government largesse during The Age of The Virus. We’ve all gotten a taste of easy money—inflation be damned!—and now we want the gravy train to keep on rollin’.
But I think it goes deeper than that. My generation in particular—prone to wokery, alas—legitimately has gotten the short end of the economic stick, entering the workforce during a recession, saddled with billions in student loans and overcredentialed. Granted, some of those problems were our fault—we fell for the siren song of expensive degrees—but we were largely following the advice that had worked for our parents’ generation.
Understandably, many of my peers did not want to go back to waiting tables and pouring coffee for strangers—or going back to other thankless jobs. Not all of those folks are deadbeats or mooches—some of them are just worn out.
Regardless, the government’s sticky hands are in all of this mess (for example, college tuition is so astronomically high because the government will keep extending loans to anybody to get them to go to college, even if that person isn’t going to earn much with his degree). Work is annoying, stressful, and demanding—but doing it makes us better people.
With that, here is 26 May 2021’s “Disincentives to Work“: