Good question. A better one is why doesn’t anybody seem to care? In the past numbers like the ones we have seen for the past eight years would have been splashed all over the press in the most dire language, the government would be panicking and the Fed would be pulling their hair out. None of that seems to be happening now. That doesn’t mean that things aren’t dire. In fact they are probably worse than we would like to think.
The cold fact is that it seems like the entire country has broken down. It’s been this way for almost ten years now and somehow the country just doesn’t know how to right itself. The big issue is that the political class, The People In Charge don’t really seem to understand that all they are doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The problem is that there is one party that not only wants to ignore the gap in the hull, they actually want to pump water into the hold. Now counterflooding is a valid damage control technique, but not into the hold that is already being flooded.
The problem is that the “solutions” being put forward are still going to do far more harm then good. The problem with pandering to group of groups is that you have to take money from everybody to pay for those promises. Money that was doing something else, maybe something important like funding a startup or paying for research and development. Stuff that creates economic activity and real jobs.
What’s continually amazing to me is that so many people cannot understand that not all jobs are created equal. Some jobs provide value to the economy far beyond what people earned and some jobs do not. The problem with trying to commoditize jobs is that people are not robots. Everybody has different circumstances. The constant call for “equality” and the tangled web of paperwork only make things worse.
The problem is that joblessness has become systemic. Once people are tossed into the pool of jobless it gets far harder for people to get out. For all too many of the powers that be, they seem fine with that. They think that as long as the handouts go out and people vote for those handouts and the people doing the handing out that everything is fine.
Maybe that would work in a tropical economy where the solution to somebody taking your banana is to grab another one. The Western world though, is used to earning and saving for what it has. By and large we, especially men don’t want to just have bananas off the tree, we want to work for what we have and keep what we have worked for. We are the ants in a society that’s become run by the grasshoppers. And we are suffering for it.
I have to wonder how much of all those mass shootings we’ve been seeing lately are the result of a huge scream for help. In other times those kids that go on the rampages would have jobs. Hell, in the 19th Century it’s more than likely that by the time they were 23 or so they would have been working at something for ten years or more. They would have families and futures. They would be productive members of society. Instead the powers that be have condemned them to be useless drones. The wonder is that far more don’t crack in one way or another.
That’s just the young. The pattern though, is going to continue. It continues with every layoff. The people that have jobs are forced to work ever harder at what they do in a red queens race of trying to earn raises to pay ever higher taxes of one form or another as the people who are laid off can’t seem to get work.
No matter how much you spin it, the reality doesn’t go away. There are far too may people not working. The problem is that the economy needs the money they should be making, the companies they should be starting, the ideas they aren’t selling. That doesn’t show up in statistics other than the misery index.
People dropping out of the employment lines in frustration is not creating an economy, it’s draining it. Economic activity deferred is economic activity that doesn’t happen. It’s also less economic activity in the future. If you aren’t making money at 15, 20, 25 or later, simple compound interest means that you lose out on so much later.
If I were a supporter of the blue model what’s happening now would scare the hell out of me. Yet the appearance at the recent Democratic debate was of total unconcern as they participants raced to the bottom with yet more programs, Many of which, free college, for instance actually create new sets of problems
We’ve lost the ethos that hard work pays off. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that being an self employed or owning a business is boundary line criminal. Some days I’m not sure which side of the boundary we are on. Everything, though depends on those small businesses being started and then creating jobs. That’s not happening.
The problem is that startups don’t happen in a vacuum. In order for people to have the confidence that their hard work will pay off, to dive in and take the risk they have to trust that the rules will not be changed arbitrarily, that the rules apply to everybody and that they can reap the rewards of what they sow. Above all things need to be simple enough that they know that they will not be buried In endless paperwork as they try to make a business run. All of these things are the opposite of what’s happening right now.
The fact is that the current climate is massive media and government blowback against people trying to make do for themselves. Because people driving people around, making stuff in their garages and working in their homes is massively disruptive to the regulatory state. The kind of nanny state that many people seem to want.
It’s nice to think that people are being exploited. Frankly though experience has taught me that exploitation is a matter of state of mind. Nobody ahs ever paid me for work they didn’t want or forced me to do things that I did not agree to. Except for government, nobody forces you to do anything. Government forces you to do everything it want, regardless of your own interests or needs.
Frankly I think that the whole exploiting labor thing was made up out of whole cloth by people soaked in Marxist labor theory and never actually having to really work. While I haven’t worked at as many dirty jobs as Mike Rowe, I’ve dome my share and as far as I’m concerned a dirty job beats no job if real work doing real stuff is involved.
To end this, here’s a bunch of nice graphs showing the state of the economy. I said that electing Obama and the Democrats back in 2008 would be like taking a punt gun to the economy. I hate being right about that.
For more on the dysfunctional economy click Here or on the tag below.