Not Working: A Society in Decline
A USA Today study finds that the percentage of Americans not working hasn’t been higher since women began entering the workforce, and the percentage of men who are working has never been lower. Moreover:
In 2000, the nation had roughly the same number of children and non-working adults. Since then, the population of non-working adults has grown 27 million while the nation added just 3 million children under 18. …
The aging of 77 million Baby Boomers born from 1946 through 1964 from children to workers to retirees is changing the relationship between workers and dependents.
Retirees generally are more costly to support than children.
Fewer children. More non-employed. A wave of pending retirements. Now stir this in:
A quarter of teenagers were jobless in March, representing a surprising increase from February, even as the unemployment rate for the rest of the population decreased.
So, not only are there fewer children, but fewer of them are forming the habits and skills of working.
The article about teen unemployment notes economists’ expectation that increasing the minimum wage will only exacerbate things, as employers eliminate low-end positions that they can no longer afford and look for higher-skilled employees to fill the more-expensive positions that they keep. Meanwhile, the first article linked above ends with this:
Economist Eileen Applebaum of the liberal Center for Economics and Policy Research says the real problem is a lack of jobs. Another 25 million people would work in a healthy economy, and incentives such as child care assistance could help, she says: “We’re getting richer. We can afford things. We just need to fix what needs to be fixed.”
Those of us who are suspicious of the Left’s ability to do such fixing might wonder how its solutions address the actual problem by continuing to expand and deepen dependency — of parents on government and of the young on parents and government. That strikes me as the opposite of the wise direction.
Indeed, progressives’ proposed policies always represent a further step in the progression of covering up and papering over the adverse consequences of previous changes. Even with male exodus from the workforce and decreasing numbers of children, and decreasing proportions of them working, we’re still hearing calls to somehow force the system to shift in favor of women to compensate for a debatable wage gap. Moreover, we’re hearing calls to continue the dilution of marriage by severing the inherent link between it and childbirth.
Western civilization spent much of the past half-century undermining the family structure that secured its advancement toward prosperity. Papa Government isn’t going to fill the gap, because the nuclear Western family ultimately encourages independence, while government encourages dependence. Parents will inevitably die; Big Government is eternal, unless killed.