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Does Anyone Value Work Any Longer?

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2021
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by AMAC, Jeff Szymanski
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17 Comments
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When I taught high school economics, I always asked this during one of my lessons:  “What would you think if your parents said you could stay in their home as long as you wanted, through your 40s or longer, and your meals would be provided, and no room or board money would ever be due.”  Of course, a few boys usually yelled out, “Awesome.  Sounds great to me.”  But the message was clear.  They immediately knew what was bad about this scenario—they would never grow up and become independent, self-sufficient, enterprising adults.

And so it has been with all legislation coming out of the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2021.  Extra unemployment bonuses not to work.  Child credit payments direct to your bank.  Big boost to food stamps.  Federal workers are still at home.  On the last point, if you are a senior, or any individual, needing Social Security in-person services in most of the country, it’s still just “TS” for you—tough situation.  Nearly two years on in this pandemic, most federal office employees are still lolling at home, keeping their locality pay differentials of course.

Each of the other policies noted has been damaging to the overall economy, and the effects continue to linger.  Bonuses not to work mean people will choose not to work.  True, the extra top-offs ended on Labor Day, but child credit payments continue.  It’s beyond inconceivable, but Democrats are demanding they be extended for yet another year.  

Businesses still cannot fill their open positions, and it seems to matter not what they do to try to bring in employees.  If you lined up 50 employers—small, medium, and large—you’d get a minimum 49 saying hiring is becoming impossible.  In the end, some companies throw in the towel and go out of business.  How are we better off when so many eligible, able-bodied workers are sitting on the sidelines collecting some kind of government assistance?  

What about food stamps, now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) payments?  No one argues there are not some people who struggle to buy food.  But there are no time limits on the program.  No one is empowered or incentivized to better themselves, especially when the funds just arrive on a debit card each month.

It’s worth imagining for a moment what would happen if the President could wave a magic wand and literally suspend all welfare-type assistance programs, literally to zero, with perhaps just a one-month warning.  What would happen if folks were warned they would no longer have a crutch?  Civil war in the streets?  Tent cities everywhere as in third world countries?  Or, and this is my guess, there would be a huge uptick in hiring.  Wouldn’t it be great to see throngs of people bombarding a restaurant, a hotel, or a factory when they put up “Help Wanted” or “Now Hiring” signs.

Wouldn’t it be great to celebrate an economic statistic that showed the labor force participation rate exceeded where we were at the start of the pandemic?  And recall, the economy was zooming along very nicely just before Covid hit in February 2020. 

Obviously, the pandemic was the excuse for leftists to get as many Americans hooked on government as possible.  Leftists believe that giving out unearned benefits keeps them in power.  After all, as their thinking goes, neither people nor animals generally bite the hands that feed them.  But did the pandemic make “work” a four-letter word to Democrats?  It sure seems so.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia appears to be the lone voice among Democrats who continues to argue that the incentives are all wrong in the massive Build Back Better plan.  He also argues it is too expensive, though it seems likely he will yet cave and vote to pass a smaller bill.  But to date, Manchin has stood with all Republicans demanding that we celebrate and prioritize work and stop needlessly increasing the size of government and borrowing money to send to able-bodied people who could easily take one of the 10 million jobs now open?

Remember, just like the able-bodied son or daughter who continues living at home for the free room and free meals, we are doing a disservice to our fellow Americans by getting them hooked on government rather than hooked on a job.

Jeff Szymanski works in political communications for AMAC, a senior benefits organization with nearly 2.4 million members.  He previously taught high school economics for 15 years.

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Chris
Chris
2 years ago

We sure need to value the importance of work in all our lives!!

MICHAEL GRACI
MICHAEL GRACI
2 years ago

people today don’t know what a full days work is. all they do is play on a cell phone. I was raised with a pencil and yellow pad. try 12hr. days in the sun 6days a week lifting concrete bags. you didn’t need a vaccine, you just sweat it out

Terrg
Terrg
2 years ago

Why has AMAC not addressed vaccine mandates for employment? I have been searching this site and can’t find a single article. The latest magazine also doesn’t address this issue. They must be okay with people being forced to take a vaccine against their choice. If I’m wrong let me know.

Paul
Paul
2 years ago

No, because a majority of the young workers want socialism.There convinced that Free College and Free Everything is what it’s all about.Trouble is no one has taught lessons about the failures of communist/Socialist countries.Ronald Regan, said it best the best social program is a job!

Dean Vollette
Dean Vollette
2 years ago

Government planning. Keep us sheep so when the time comes we have to be so reliant on them it will be easier to establish the socialist state. I’m a worker. Have been since teens and younger. I’m 70 now and tired but I’m still working and going strong. I will never bow to socialism.

Matt Knighton
Matt Knighton
2 years ago

How true. How sad

James
James
2 years ago

Make all mandatory spending of Federal government fall to zero and be voted on yearly or as “four year plans” then use the entire IRS army to audit government programs cutting every program at least 1% while eliminating other programs entirely for waste while holding extra spending in check to a reduce costs? Impossible? We need real cuts with real savings in dollars to remove taxes. A seventh year reset is one option. Other ideas?

Beverly
Beverly
2 years ago

So on target!

Gordon
Gordon
2 years ago

Excellent and Spot On

Patriot
Patriot
2 years ago

Devaluing work for independence, personal freedom and liberty is just what the George Soros movement funds: Democrat/Marxists intent and focused on “fundamentally transforming” America.

Kim
Kim
2 years ago

I went shopping the other day. Although none of the items on the list included plants, this gardener naturally is attracted to what’s in garden centers. When I spotted carts full of partially wilted (and about to be discarded) violas, I asked a young man working in that department if they had been discounted.

Him: “I dunno.” Pause… He must have thought that would get rid of me.
Me: “Well, could you please find out?” Other stores in this chain offered deep discounts on plants like these.

So, after a little more back and forth, we walked over to the carts with the wilted plants, he held a UPC label to his device and said “$4.47” or something close to that.
Me: “That’s the regular price. These are not in good condition, and I’m interested in buying many of them if the price is right.”
Him, with an attitude: “They’re $4.47”.
Me: “Is there someone I can speak to? Maybe the manager can reduce the price…?”
Him: “I dunno.”

So, that ended our conversation. Two “I dunno’s” and no inclination to pursue a customer’s inquiry means you’re out. I ended up with no plants and the store lost out on a decent sale for stuff they were going to trash.

More important was this guy’s attitude. Yes, he has a pulse, but is he good for the company’s image? Any training? He lacked simple courtesy and any sense of what is expected of an employee. The cashier inside asked if I’d found everything okay, and I did grumble a bit about someone in the garden department. But it’s Christmas, and I didn’t want to be the Grinch who got him fired.

I think this pandemic coupled with the progressive view that people should be paid for choosing to stay out of the work force is changing the way America does business. Sure, most people do a good job and some do an excellent job. Then there’s someone like “Matt” who probably was told by his Mom or Dad to get a job and doesn’t care if he gets fired or promoted. It’s all bs to someone like him. He’s in his mid 20’s– not a teenager.

This laissez-faire attitude might be more common these days because we expect so little of others. We’ve come to expect mediocrity. Liberal politicians have trashed the notion that work is good for a person. That’s all part of their plan, though, isn’t it? Remove individual responsibility and a higher-rewards-for-better work ethic to crumble our economic foundation so they can rebuild it according to their socialist plan. Of course, it never has been successful anywhere, but the lure of free money sure does get the people’s attention.

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