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August 31, 2022

Here Comes Lazy America

COVID pandemic aid has served to encourage a growing culture of laziness within the country.

One of the many areas of fallout from the federal government’s over-response to the COVID pandemic has been a growing culture of laziness. Not only did the government shut down millions of Americans’ ability to work, but lawmakers across both sides of the political divide initially justified the action and supported spending trillions of dollars in COVID relief for people they forced not to work.

As is always the case, there are consequences for Big Government’s actions, and the negative consequences are often more far-reaching and insidious than the actual problem lawmakers were seeking to “solve” in the first place.

It’s not shocking at all that throwing money at people disincentivizes an eagerness to work. In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. labor participation rate fell significantly, like much of the world. However, unlike much of the developed world, the U.S. labor rate has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Europe, Canada, and Japan have all rebounded and then some, while the U.S. is still mired at nearly a million fewer workers than before the pandemic.

Furthermore, this lack of bounce back is not due primarily to retiring workers but to American workers ages 25 to 54 who have not been returning to the workforce in the same numbers as Europe and Asia.

What has allowed for this lack of return of workers has much to do with the government turning on the welfare spigot and never really turning it off. And it’s not as if the jobs aren’t there — the ratio of job openings to unemployment is near record highs. Employers are constantly complaining of being unable to find workers for the job openings they have.

However, more insidious still has been the growth of a fringe youth anti-work movement. In several online forums, people are celebrated for quitting their jobs, or, worse, yet they are lionized for being “idlers” or “quiet quitters” — individuals who stay on a job doing the absolute least amount of work possible just to collect a paycheck. Laziness is literally being celebrated as virtuous. 

And this “virtuous” element comes from that old nemesis of American freedom and industriousness: the Marxist-loving anti-capitalism movement. Proponents are undermining the American economic system by encouraging slothfulness and spurring the grievance culture. These folks push the false claim that capitalism is exploitation and therefore stealing from your employer in the form of laziness and inefficiency is virtuous.

Unfortunately, politicians play right into this game, willingly throwing taxpayer money at nearly every problem and then patting themselves on the back for having “done” something to help. In the end, all they’ve done is take more away from the hard-working and given it to the non-working.

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