Thursday, June 3, 2021

I Heard This On NPR

 I heard an economist interviewed this morning about the "businesses can't hire workers" problem.

Most of what I have heard on this subject says that one, small, part of the problem is that workers are making more on unemployment than they can make from a job.

That is a contributing factor, but there are other, dominant factors, chief among them workers don't have any serviceable and safe place for the kids and they work in jobs that don't allow social distancing, and, frequently, don't allow masks; so they are genuinely concerned about going back to work to die.

This morning's interviewed economist put all his chips on the "making more on unemployment" theory.

But he didn't do it with the medieval republican view.

He did not decry workers as slackers and ne'er-do-wells; he congratulated them for rational economic behavior.

This is an extremely roughly re-constructed account of what he said.

"Only an idiot would take a job that pays $500 a week when he is currently being paid $750 a week.

"That might look like proof of the republican slackers and ne'er-do-well argument, but it is really just rational economic behavior: these people know that they are going to have to go back to work fairly soon - the $750 a week doesn't last very long, but, while it does, why not take it, save as much of it as possible (being used to $500 a week can make $750 look pretty big and why not save some of it?) and in the meantime why not keep looking for a much better job than the one they got laid off from due to the pandemic?

"And as for the 25 republican governors, who want to re-open the economy and force workers back to serfdom, they are just economic idiots.

"The current unemployment relief checks put $10,000,000,000 into the US economy every week.

"Force everybody back to their serf status $500 a week jobs and that ten billion, which ends up being mostly spent every week, evaporates from the economy.

"Can you spell double dip depression?"

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