|The Labor Pool Is Growing Less Popular|
Over the last two decades we have created an environment where the shame of not working has been greatly diminished. Two comments that I have heard on more than one occasion from people who did not work both startled and stuck with me. The first is "I'm just to busy to work" this seems to be a way to justify their lifestyle. This could be taken to imply those working have far less important things to occupy their time. The second is the terminology often used by those living on money doled out by the government is in reference as to when they will receive their "benefits." It seems "I get paid" followed by when the transfer will be made is the most common way. Oddly, this could be interpreted as to mean that they work or did something to earn the money.
I have also found those who are bone idle often feel little remorse and sometimes even a bit of pride in their ability to sidestep the obligations related to working. Reporting to a job tends not to be as much fun for the average worker as we might think, that is why they call it work and not a 'holiday'. In fact many people hate and despise their job. For many people what they see as the death of the 'American dream' has added to their malaise. As they lose hope of ever really getting ahead or amounting to much they often find it is easier to accept their fate then to fight it. Why toil exerting a great effort in a society where an almost cavalier "Tom Sawyer" type attitude has developed and people swell with pride in tricking someone into painting their fence or carrying their share of the load? We would be wise to remember this will have a cost, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
As people exit the work force it is not uncommon for them to quickly use up what little or any savings they might have. This leaves them in a position to become a burden to society when even a slight financial misfortune is placed upon them. Those living on the edge of society live with only a small buffer and can find themselves stepping over the line. As they become more marginal people find a dramatic increase in the incentive to become involved in criminal activity or start down the path of running up debts they can never repay and eventual bankruptcy. Activities such as these pose a cost and burden that tends to wear society down by attrition. This will further strain Social Security, SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, and a plethora of other programs that comprise a safety net under the nations poor. As wealth is transferred from those employed to those who are not we find that taxes must be increased on a proportionally smaller tax base.
The erosion of both skills and the work ethic has indeed left employers scrambling to man their ships. This helps explain a large number of job openings in certain sectors of the economy, but you cannot put a square peg into a round hole. Simply providing expensive job training to those with little desire to work and have no work ethic is not an answer and does not spur employers to pay someone more to do a poor job. The bottom-line is small business in particular is harmed and societies options slowly vanish as the labor pool evaporates. This trend has the potential to spur inflation because with as competence and skills vanish it will soon becomes outrageously expensive to have any service preformed that cannot be done by a large concern using a cookie cutter format.
To many people a life devoid of work has many benefits. They have more time to smell the roses and hang with family and friends as well as pursuing other interests even if it means they just while away the hours. Modern society does not lack for providing distractions and diversions on a 24-7 time table. When you couple this with a almost generous array of income options from a government and society driven to reduce poverty finding a way to financially muddle along is not overly challenging. Many people, particularly the Millennials, have discovered how surprisingly little they really need to get by or even enjoy life when their basic needs are provided and even seem to take pride in this new found status.
Footnote; I applaud the shift away from a lifestyle based on materialism, but that should not be confused with the need of an individual to take personal responsibility and shoulder their part of life's burdens. Below are two other articles related to the subject of our so called "social safety-net." Thanks for reading and comments are encouraged.