WASHINGTON, DC, Nov 18 — It’s not unusual for an illness to have side effects, but the side effect of the COVID pandemic has had an unforeseen side effect on the American economy. In its latest report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that a record 4.4 million workers quit their jobs in September. The Labor Department also reports that, at the same time, 10.4 million available jobs remained unfilled. It’s beginning to look like the workforce is on strike.
As one worker told the New York Times, she left her job last year to care for her kids. “So much of how I saw myself was tied up in what I did for a living — it was a huge adjustment to all of a sudden not be doing that all the time. But once I made that adjustment, it also became apparent that there were also benefits to having that work-life balance.”
The cost of living went down during the pandemic due in part to the stimulus bucks provided by the government, as well as the initiation of programs to ease mortgage payment and student loan paybacks and a freeze on evictions. The Times also noted that even the wealthier segment of the population saved; they didn’t go out to eat, passed up vacation opportunities, and benefited from a major uptick in stock prices.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration appears to be using the labor shortage to promote the socialist elements of the Democrats’ massive Bring Back Better spending legislation. During an interview, last week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe talk show Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that a lack of access to affordable childcare is responsible for the shortage. It prompted the radio show’s co-host Mika Brzezinski to challenge the notion: “I still don’t understand. I mean, if you’re telling me that Build Back Better will bring people back to work because of much-needed and long-needed issues like childcare and pre-K, that still doesn’t explain why people aren’t coming to work today.”
A Real Clear Politics report of that interview attracted dozens of comments from readers. One particularly angry reader had this to say: “The Federal Government has no business (nor constitutional authority) to provide nor pay for daycare. If you can’t afford kids, don’t have them. If you don’t have family to help you with kids, don’t have them. There’s plenty of free and reduced costs daycare (like churches) that are available, and parents need to learn to be responsible and self-sufficient.”
In a recent interview with Fox News, Senator Mike Lee [R-UT] pointed out that “Work is more than a source of income; it’s fundamental to our ability to contribute and thrive. Congress must stop making policy decisions that discourage a return to work—we need workers’ contributions now more than ever.”
A study conducted by the Joint Economic Committee Republicans confirms that it’s government policies that are keeping more and more from going back to work. The report shows that more and more Americans are receiving government assistance and many more anticipate that the socialist Biden government will up the ante. It also reveals that government giveaways are impairing a much-needed post-pandemic back-to-work movement.
In conclusion, the analysis found that “Reconnecting inactive workers to the labor force will require careful consideration of poorly-designed federal benefits, wide-ranging regulations that exclude would-be workers from the labor market, and labor laws that restrict employee freedoms to work on their own terms. Policymakers must not forget that work can provide more than a paycheck; it can offer self-respect, a chance to thrive through personal achievements, and an opportunity to deepen community ties that build the foundation for robust social capital and a strong civil society. By revitalizing connections to work, we simultaneously strengthen families, communities, and civil society.”