Issues & Insights

The Nation That Wouldn’t Get Out Of Bed And Go To Work

A country of roughly 330 million has more than 9 million job openings, and 9.5 million unemployed. This is a disgrace, a clear indication that our American character and work ethic are slipping, a rolling tragedy that’s been authored by the Democrats.

Three years ago, before Democrat Joe Biden was the president, while the Republicans still held a majority in the Senate, The Saturday Evening Post wondered if “the American work ethic (has) gotten worse.”

“Have Americans lost their willingness to apply their noses to the grindstone, or to work hard for anything they get in life?”

The venerable publication concluded “that’s not what statistics show.”

Today’s data, however, tell a different story.

According to the Labor Department, there was a record high of 9.2 million job openings in May, and 9.5 million jobless in June. ZipRecruiter reckons as many as 15 million jobs need to be filled. Either way, millions are ignoring what MarketWatch describes “an insatiable demand for labor as the economy fully reopens and businesses scramble to keep up with soaring sales for their goods and services.”

We have arrived at this point in history because the Democrats have made sitting at home collecting a government check a better financial decision than working. We covered this in May, when we said “as part of Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan,’ the Democrats included a $300 weekly bonus to those on unemployment that runs until September. The plan included various other handouts that are letting the jobless live comfortable lives at the moment.”

(Democrats had previously insisted that a $600 weekly bonus be included in the 2020 CARES Act, which we noted at the time was an attempt to sneak a $15 minimum wage through the back door.)

In some cases, taxpayer-funded benefits are higher than the wages recipients would receive in return for their labor.

When we discussed this in May, the most recent data showed 7.4 million job openings. So the problem has become worse.

Democratic Party newsletters such as the New York Times and Washington Post say the problem is that Americans don’t want to go back to low-wage jobs and “terrible” working conditions. This ignores our value system that says performing even the most humble job is more virtuous than living on handouts, and dismisses a fact we all instinctively know – that “getting paid not to work can be addictive.”

Those words are from columnist Cal Thomas, who also cites Proverbs 10:4, which says “lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” 

Less divine, but still important, is the research at two Federal Reserve banks, which has noted that “longer benefits may reduce unemployed workers’ job search efforts and raise their reservation wage, decreasing their likelihood of becoming reemployed,” and “payments are likely to reduce job-finding and prolong unemployment spells for eligible individuals.” 

A rancid soup of progressives, media cheerleaders, Democrat operatives, the left’s political leaders, and various agitators wonder why Washington just can’t pay some of us to lay about our homes and watch our flat screen televisions. Here’s why not:

One, work is ennobling. The U.S. intuitively recognized this since its beginnings. In “Democracy in America,” a Frenchman’s early 19th century observation of what made this new nation succeed, Alexis de Toqueville wrote that “the notion of labor is therefore presented to the mind, on every side, as the necessary, natural, and honest condition of human existence. Not only is labor not dishonorable among such a people, but it is held in honor; the prejudice is not against it, but in its favor.”

Biden himself has even recounted the story of his father telling him “a job is a lot more than a paycheck,” that it’s about “your respect, your dignity, your place in the community.” 

Two, arranging for one portion of the population to perpetually support another isn’t sustainable. As Margaret Thatcher famously – and quite correctly – observed, at some point “you eventually run out of other people’s money” when trying to keep socialist programs afloat.

Democrats have long wanted to make as many Americans as possible dependent upon government, and eternally reliant on the generosity – using other people’s money – of the Democratic Party. They want a nation of serfs and subjects, not one of individual citizens, in which they are the ruling class. They want to reign rather than govern within constitutional limits. Authoritarianism and control are in their DNA. Eliminating the work ethic that powers capitalism is part of their plan to fundamentally transform this country in a way that benefits only them and their cronies.

Correction: Alexis de Toqueville’s “Democracy in America” was published in the early 19th Century, not the 18th Century. Thanks to an alert reader who caught the typo.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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  • Related to Thatcher’s axiom if the fact the those at the top in a free society will have a greater net worth than an oligarchy. Thought the latter is what they think they want because it gives them more individual power (until the tyrant takes everything they have as well cf: Jack Ma). If everyone is a serf but for the very top, AMZN has no one to sell to.

  • Hear, hear. I’m a retired I.T. executive (and author of a biz-tech MBA-text). I’ve watched a general slide in ethics, standards, and simple ability to think over the course of the past few decades. I am worried. Also, as a U.S. Army veteran, I’m deeply concerned over “woke-ism’s” effect on our readiness… and we know what it is doing to education, and what the yield will be: an acceleration of the slide…

  • As one of the currently unemployed, I agree the the extra $300. A week is keeping me out of the job market, but I am also SICK of working for giant organizations that don’t respect my work ethic. I have been working since I was 15 years old. I have a variety of job experiences that should make me valuable to most any employer, but when it comes right down to the nitty-gritty. I am just a cog in the machine, so after my last employer eliminated my position just to lay me off, why shouldn’t I take advantage of the extended unemployment? I worked like a dog for this employer for over 13 years in 5 different positions. They merged with a multi state organization and I am no longer a “valued employee”. So why should we re-enter the job market?

    • Keep in mind that it is not soulless corporations, or even their executives, but rather individuals, be they owners or the owners of the finance institutions who control their funding, who hold the power over the policies that govern the personnel policies. Only by going after these individuals, you’ll get control over your working life. I personally have decided long time ago that “if you work for a company for five years and by then you don’t own it, it’s time to move on!”. Even as an employee, you should always see yourself as an independent contractor who rents out his thinking ability for an adequate fee. If you don’t like what is asked of you, don’t do it and move on, preferably to compete with them.

    • To answer your burning question. Only iif it makes you have a higher opinion of yourself. If sitting at home on your rear end makes you think highly of yourself, by all means stay sitting.

  • And when the system collapses due to this phony government largess then these lazy jokers will cry “I need a job.”

  • The unemployment rate is 5.9%. That is pretty good coming out of a pandemic. I’m a progressive Democrat and I can say my experience is different. I was eager to get back to work and did last September. But the industry I am in is still nowhere near 100%. It’s limping along and there are many unemployed. It’s not their fault. But they are not lazy. They want to get back. Some actually have no unemployment benefits left. I don’t see lazy people. I see people trying to get to work in a cautious period. The job openings you note may likely be in completely different parts of the country from those unemployed as well.

  • Recall Pelosi’s ignorant and abhorrent comments that people can now sit at home and write poetry and essays and not have to get dirt under their fingernails. We are there, in spades. How quickly America has welcomed the total welfare state and socialism.

  • Q: What did you do when you had to stop working during the great Covid-19 pandemic.?

    A: I found work as a professional couch potato on the government payroll.

  • –In “Democracy in America,” a Frenchman’s early 18th century observation —

    it’s a typo – de Toqueville visited America in early 19-th century

  • For heavens sake, will you STOP calling the American Communist Party The “Democratic” party? It’s the DEMOCRAT Party. There’s NOTHING at all “democratic ” about these marxists.

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