Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Doug Casey on the Labor Shortage and other Disturbing Distortions…

Posted by M. C. on May 20, 2021

Are millions going to be kicked out of their apartments and houses? Does this mean we’re going to have a new wave of homeless people? Or will the State just take over their obligations, so we have overtly socialized housing? The small landlords, in particular, will be hurt worst. I’m not sure what the way out is. The country has been painted into a corner.

I’m shocked that I don’t see any of this being discussed anywhere. The country is sleepwalking into a living nightmare, and we’re just scratching the surface of all the problems that will have to be confronted in the years to come.

by Doug Casey

International Man: According to the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report, only 266,000 new jobs were created in April—well below the one million new jobs that was expected.

At the same time, American businesses are desperately seeking to fill job openings which they can’t fill. A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that 44% of small businesses had jobs they couldn’t fill, which is a record high.

What’s going on with these seemingly contradictory trends?

Doug Casey: First of all, I don’t trust the government’s statistics. Some are surely better than others, but especially when we’re looking at monetary and economic numbers, it’s increasingly apparent that the US government’s statistics are only marginally more reliable than those of the Argentine government at this point. As the US is increasingly politicized, they’ll deteriorate further, fudged and adjusted for propaganda purposes.

Eventually, they’ll approach the inaccuracy of those in the old Soviet Union. It’s understandable, I suppose, because people believe in, and love to quote, that old saw of Franklin Roosevelt’s: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” It’s nonsense, of course; you can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

The government likes to publish happy, optimistic numbers for lots of reasons. A belief that economic health is based on psychological smiley faces is prominent among them. Unfortunately, optimism can blow away as easily as a pile of feathers in a hurricane.

That said, there are huge distortions that have been cranked into the economy because of the ongoing COVID hysteria, compounded by the government’s reaction to it. It appears there are over 16 million workers collecting unemployment bennies, while there are about 8.5 million job openings, 13% more than in the before times. How is that possible? Lots of fast-food chains are paying $15 an hour, plus recruiting bonuses—and that’s for unskilled labor. There are loads of highly-paid manufacturing and construction jobs going begging. Anyone who wants a job can have one.

There are several reasons for this.

One is that COVID hysteria is slacking off somewhat but still in high gear. A high proportion of the population wear masks when driving alone, walking alone, or even participating in a Zoom call (presumably to virtue signal). Needless to say, these types are afraid to go to work or be among other people. They want to self-isolate out of fear. They won’t work, or will work less, from hypochondria. Those that will work have to be induced with hazard pay.

Meanwhile, a combination of state unemployment benefits, $300 Federal unemployment, and Federal stimmy checks means that a lot of them can take home more not working than working.

It’s easier to stay home, get up late, binge-watch Netflix, and collect tax-free money than commute to work. After a year, it can turn into an ingrained bad habit.

International Man: Since the beginning of the pandemic, the US government has been sending stimulus checks to Americans—mostly to those who experienced no reduction in their income or job loss. This flurry of free money has led to people choosing not to work.

What’s your take on this?

Doug Casey: You get what you pay for. And if you pay people to stay at home, they’ll do that. People are consuming more than ever. Retail sales are way up because of all the funny money the government is practically helicopter dumping, while a lot less people are producing. This is a guaranteed formula for economic disaster. And it’s not just an economic failure but a moral failure.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

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