September 6, 2021

‘Don’t Labor’ Day 2021

Millions of Americans are still opting not to fill a record number of job openings.

It’s Labor Day, and we here in our humble shop are laboring. But millions of Americans still aren’t — meaning they won’t go to work tomorrow, either.

The August jobs report was yet another huge disappointment. Economist predicted well over 700,000 new jobs, but the Labor Department said workers filled just 235,000 spots. That’s not for lack of job openings. There are now a record 10.5 million positions that remain unfilled, and the National Federal of Independent Business says 50% of companies with openings couldn’t fill them.

Worse, there were significant job losses in the retail sector (down 28,500) and no gain in hospitality and leisure. For that, some say we can thank the COVID Delta variant that has cases surging again. Then again, “The problem is not the delta variant,” argues Ben Shapiro. “The problem is the media, the Biden administration, and blue state politicians telling people to freak the hell out about the delta variant. This has resulted in the vaccinated freaking out and the unvaccinated acting as they always did.”

There are two bigger reasons for the dearth of job growth: Government incentives for people not to work and rampant inflation that has crushed real wage growth.

On numerous occasions, we’ve highlighted the fact that the government often pays people more not to work than to take a job. That’s largely thanks to enhanced unemployment benefits, which end this month nationwide absent another extension. But it also goes for other cash transfers like food stamps that just got a 25% bump, and the child tax credit monthly payments that you now have to opt out of receiving.

And then there’s inflation. Economist Stephen Moore notes, “Even though wages are up 4 percent, the cost of living is up more than 5 percent.” And The Wall Street Journal reports, “Wages after inflation have fallen for seven straight months.”

Maybe if the federal government just spends a few trillion more taxpayer dollars that’ll fix it. No, that’s not it. The truth is that we’re looking at such dismal jobs reports because the government has already spent trillions of taxpayer dollars to “fix” it. Virtually every problem in the labor market today can be traced to government policy or spending.

“We can put people to work in good jobs,” Joe Biden told us in his Inaugural Address. Since then, he’s told us numerous times what a great job he’s doing at fulfilling that pledge. The problem is, that’s a lie. While it’s not up to the president to fill job openings, he does have an awful lot of influence over conditions in the economy. On that and so many other marks, Biden is failing miserably, and we’re all paying for it.

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