A pay-you-to-stay-home Labor Day?
Over the years, we've celebrated Labor Day in one of two ways. We either have high unemployment, like 1982, or a strong hiring market like 2019. It's a bit different in 2021, as we see in the latest jobs report:
A record share of U.S. small-business owners said they had vacant positions in August, and an unprecedented number boosted wages to lure workers, the National Federation of Independent Business said Thursday.
Fifty percent of firms had job openings they could not fill last month, up 1 percentage point from July and the largest share in monthly data back to 1986, according to the NFIB data. A record 41% of small-business owners said they raised compensation.
"Owners are raising compensation in an attempt to attract workers and these costs are being passed on to consumers through price hikes for goods and services, creating inflation pressures," Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB's chief economist, said in a statement.
Inflation pressures created? We see it every day. On one hand, there is a "help wanted" at the gas station door. On the other hand, it costs a lot more to fill that tank. Just yesterday, I went to my favorite Chinese buffet for a little fried rice and sweet and sour pork and noticed that prices were up. I joked with the owner about the more expensive lunch, and he responded by reminding me that everything he buys is up, too. Gas up, fried rice up!
On this Labor Day, we see the consequences of Biden economics because Trump would have never signed the bill sending money to people to stay home. Yes, President Trump sent payments to people in 2020, but a 50-50 Senate with V.P. Harris breaking the tie took it to a bizarre level earlier this year.
We went from helping people in 2020 to sending them money to sit home rather than work. What genius came up with that idea? Maybe the same one who advised the president to bring a million unvetted people across the border in the middle of a pandemic.
On Labor Day 2021, the Biden plan is keeping the economy from bouncing back to the pre-pandemic levels, as Senator Wicker wrote:
March 2020 was a unique moment of crisis that called for urgent financial relief for the American people. Congress acted swiftly to provide that relief on a sweeping bipartisan basis. This year, when Democrats took over the majority in the Senate, our country was already on the mend. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had predicted a full economic recovery by the middle of this year without any additional stimulus needed from Congress. But Washington Democrats brushed aside this optimism and decided to pass more stimulus to the tune of $1.9 trillion. This time, the money was excessive, poorly targeted, and extended beyond the time of the pandemic.
These policies are now holding back our economic recovery. Job creators cannot compete with government benefits, which are keeping millions of Americans out of the workforce. A casino manager in Biloxi recently said staff shortages have gotten worse even as business has improved. Restaurants are in a similar bind. Fifty-seven percent of restaurant operators now say finding and keeping employees is their biggest problem. This same dilemma is facing multiple other industries such as hospitality, manufacturing, and construction.
Fortunately, governors across America are standing up to these "pay to stay at home" policies. I commend Gov. Tate Reeves for opting out of expanded federal unemployment funds in order to help Mississippi embark on a full recovery. Nearly half of all governors share the same mindset and are saying "no" to those unnecessary federal funds. These decisions are paving the way for our labor force to make a full recovery.
Paying people to stay home does not work. It's time to respectfully tell people to set the alarm clock and go to work. The jobs are out there. Lots of them are out there!
PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).
Graphic credit: Pixabay license.
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