Where, asks the Wall Street Journal, did all the workers go?
Bidenomics has led to a labor shortage that is hurting the economy, the journal concludes. There are five million fewer Americans employed then before the pandemic lock downs. As many as three million have left the work force when closed, when virtual and remote succeeded in person, when radical change occurred almost everywhere in the work force, millions gave up, quit working and in effect retired.
Of course, Covid and the new Delta Variant were blamed for almost everything. It seemed as though the mentality of America changed and changed radically in two short years. Some workers refused to work remotely or virtually. Others refused to go back to work, working in person, at offices and retail outlets and in enclosed spaces. That left employers “crying for workers” but they can not be found even when those employers are willing to pay more than before. In addition, those employers are willing to make accommodations not previously offered, such as working from home, more flexible work schedules and more. It seems as though leverage has shifted from the employer to the employee. Some statistics indicate that as many as 51% of all employers, actual or potential have openings they can not fill. It is just simply unbelievable how the world, economically and otherwise, has so radically changed in two short years.
Why, ask economists, is this happening. What is causing the worker shortage? One factor is government and employer vaccine mandates. If you want to work, say government, its agencies and many employers, you must be vaccinated and fully vaccinated. Many states and school districts have also imposed vaccine mandates and as a result, ten of thousands of workers refuse to be vaccinated for personal reasons and consequently could not work. Millions continue to refuse vaccination for personal, medical or religious reasons, and employers refuse to hire them back and out of work they stay. The regular vaccination consists of two shots from both Pfizer and Moderna, only one from Johnson and Johnson which many workers refuse to get. Now comes the soft requirement for a booster shot, a third Pfizer or Moderna and a second Johnson which in time may well be mandated by governments federal and state, as well as employers. Any such requirement for a third shot will obviously reduce worker availability even further.
And another reason for worker shortage. Says the Wall Street Journal:
“Democrats have also made quitting an easier economic option.”
Even though pandemic increased unemployment benefits ended in early September, there are still many other federal financed payments that don’t require work, including a $300 monthly allowance per child, food stamps and even rental assistance. Former workers, especially those at state or federal minimum wage levels, claim they really have no economic motivation to return to work. They can live just as well and receive just as much for not working. If there is no economic necessity, why bother.
And a third reason why workers are not working. Inflation is on the rise and many think it will be long term and persistent. Fully at work, inflation may “tilt the scale” to leisure instead of work. Compensation, especially hourly earnings seem to be rising fast. But real wage growth AFTER INFLATION has been declining for many Americans. After two years, these former workers now prefer not to work, a life style with much more leisure and almost the same economically in terms of federal and state payments, and the considerable benefits still available.
The lack of workers has clearly become a drag on the economy, slowing production and contributing to supply – side strains. Ships are backed up at ports in part because there aren’t enough workers to unload and transport the merchandise and goods. Labor and material shortages are delaying home building. Even so, the economy continues to grow but not nearly as much as it should be as the country emerges from the pandemic’s depths.
The Biden White House and the Federal Reserve have deployed the Keynesian policy mix of government spending and easy monetary policy to boost demand which in turn has put considerable pressure on the supply side resulting in the lack of goods and raw materials critical to the economy’s continued growth. And of course, there is the ever – present promise of more regulations and higher taxes. Now, democrats want to add another $5 trillion in spending and more taxes that will do more of the same, exacerbate the existing problems and eventually become an incredibly serious drag on the economy. The American economy is on the one hand hopeful, showing growth signs but on the other hand, fraught with a very real and very negative downside. All of these economic factors will be most interesting as they affect politics 2022. Many predict a democratic rout as a result, while others seem to believe that these continuing government handouts will win the vote. These elections will be fascinating and will foretell the future of the American economy in so many ways.
Work is necessary, so says the scripture. No man, no woman can ever be fulfilled unless he or she works, is productive, contributes not only to self and family but to mankind generally. Work to earn, work to eat, work to get profit, all require goals and objectives so says scripture. No matter who you are, what your skills or talents, you can do something and you should. You can work in some way and you must. You simply can not live on the dole at the expense of others with a life of no or little productivity or contribution. Few things in life are as fulfilling as work well done. The sense of satisfaction runs deep.
Many respect the rights of an individual to refuse vaccination. Even so, there remains that requirement to be productive, to work. There is, in some cases, opportunity for work and growth like never before. Productive and constructive people should seize that opportunity and do what is right.
And you, my Christian friend. May you be led spiritually to make the right decisions. But above all, you should do what is right, what is biblically required and that is:
YOU SHOULD WORK!