Friday, September 9, 2022

Too Much Free Government Aid is Fueling Depressing ‘pro-lazy’ America

Government policies have created a culture of laziness in recent years — mostly in ways you’d expect, but some you wouldn’t.
First the COVID-19 pandemic opened up the spigot of government aid. Initially that aid went to families that, in many cases, genuinely needed it because of government-mandated business closures that prevented people from working. Yet as those lockdowns loosened, the benefits provided to people who stayed home remained intact. The government never turned off the tap.
Notably, this public policy was supported not only by most Democrats, but also by prominent Republican legislators like Senator Josh Hawley and President Trump, who refused to sign an aid package into law unless it contained a higher threshold ($2,000 vs. $1,600) of government aid to families. This may have been a populist policy to aid his reelection bid, but in any case it’s notable that Trump, Hawley, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris were all on the same side of this issue. It’s part of the age-old promise of bread and circuses: it’s legal to bribe citizens to reelect you as long as you do it with government money. Of course, you’re ultimately bribing them with their own money, and diluting its value through inflation too.
This cornucopia of free money has contributed to a culture of laziness that has resulted in the greatest labor shortage in the United States in over a generation. People simply became accustomed to not working — and quite liked it. White-collar employees enjoyed “working” from home with a measurable downtick in how much they were actually completing work, in my experience. So far, we’re still early in the process of formally studying it, and the existing evidence is mixed.
A recent analysis in the Wall Street Journal suggests that the US’s more generous unemployment benefits than other countries’ contributed both to its lower labor-force participation rate and, because of fewer workers to help meet demand, higher inflation. You would predict that people start going back to work when the unemployment benefits stop. But we’re not seeing that happen — at least not yet. Why? Because people got accustomed to the idea of not working and enjoyed it enough to stop working for longer than they could afford.
Nowhere was the new laziness movement better epitomized than the subredditr/antiwork, which became the place for supporters of the Great Resignation to unite. Its user population exploded during the pandemic, going from 180,000 in October 2020 to more than 1.6 million by January 2022. As The Post summed it up, the forum is a place where “People post epic text and email screenshots of quitting their jobs, but the real heroes are so-called ‘idlers’ — those who stay in jobs doing the absolute minimum to get by while still collecting a paycheck.”
Examples include a user who bragged about getting paid $80,000 a year to answer one or two phone calls and an IT professional who created a simple script to perform their entire job and received $90,000 per year. The Post interviewed the subreddit’s moderator, Doreen Ford, a 30-year old part-time dog walker who said the antiwork movement’s goal “is to reduce the coercive element of labor as much as possible by subverting capitalism.” A noble sentiment. --->READ MORE HERE
If you like what you see, please "Like" and/or Follow us on FACEBOOK here, GETTR here, and TWITTER here.

No comments: