Saturday, November 13, 2021

Do Not Forget the Greediest: The Plight of American Employers

The Spy's Report on Recovery

By Finance Editor Samuel Insull
and Labor Correspondent Joseph Hill

If it's a day ending in “-day,” it must be bad news for Biden. Never mind that any idiot who has invested in a vanilla stock market index fund has seen results like this since the election: 

Source: Morningstar

That a 36% rise in the stock market.  Also forget that since Inauguration, the shattered economy has added 5,600,000 jobs.

But a great wailing is heard in the land, at least according to The Washington Post:

Businesses have hired millions of American workers since April 2020, ... But workers have remained remarkably mobile, quitting jobs for a variety of reasons and often with little notice. Many businesses are so strapped to find and retain workers that they are dipping into budgets to offer higher pay and bonuses, creating the most worker-friendly labor market in recent history. 

Those mean workers! How dare they!

This crisis is usually described, including in the Post story, as a “labor shortage.”  It could also be described as a wage shortage, or a benefits shortage, or a childcare shortage, or a health and safety shortage, as we'll see.

Why are workers abandoning their strapped employers in their hour of greed? [Surely, need? – Ed.]  The Post piece actually provides a few clues, citing workers tired of endangering their health by being forced to work too close to unmasked unvaxxed colleagues or students.

Fortunately, the not-incompetent or corrupt Biden Administration has at least a partial fix: a new rule requiring large employers to institute a uniform test-or-vax mandate to protect workers from the occupational hazard of catching a fatal disease at work.  Problem solved.

Not so fast, Federalist Society breath.  A bent panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has stopped the rule from taking effect, in part on the grounds that the Administration's justification for the emergency rule is lacking:

“The mandate’s stated impetus — a purported ‘emergency’ that the entire globe has now endured for nearly two years, and which OSHA itself spent nearly two months responding to — is unavailing...”

A pandemic that has taken 750,000 lives in less than two years and continues to claim them at the rate of a 9/11 every three days is a “purported emergency?”  We hope these these reactionary clowns will tell us when a real ‘emergency’ shows up.  We could also hope that our elected leaders will protect us from death by unpacking the Fifth Circuit with seven new judges, but that would require something more than a “purported emergency.”

But let's return to those cheeky workers no longer willing to toil endlessly for peanuts.  What else are they whining about?

Of those who were seeking the ability to work from home, 85 percent said either workplace safety concerns (50 percent) or child-care/family-care needs (35 percent) were driving their decisions — data that indicates how many people are attempting to switch industries in hopes of being able to work from home. 

You mean the lack of affordable child care is keeping parents from entering the work force, either because there are no slots available or after paying child care, the marginal benefit of working is close to zip? Fortunately, the Biden Administration has a plan for that:

Who could oppose affordable child care when businesses are saying they are desperate for workers?

Follow that Maserati!

The child care provision is part of the Administration's omnibus Build Back Better bill, but Maserati Joe Manchin (D – Coal) isn't on board (he's staying on his luxury yacht instead).  His excuses vary, the most recent one being that inflation is too high even though no real economist believes that the BBB package will make inflation worse.

So the two most logical ways to motivate people to take and keep jobs – protecting them from death and making it possible for them to work without leaving their children alone in front of the tube – are, as usual in American life, being blocked by unprincipled a******.

What else might work?  One possibility would be not to focus on the whiners who can't find workers to hire, but instead try to learn from employers who seem to be able to attract and retain qualified workers:

For those of you who live west of Worcester (and why?), Market Basket is a beloved Boston-area supermarket chain owned by a family (or the branch of the family) that believes in treating its workers and customers well.  As a result, it's the market leader in the region and, according to this WCVB report, seems to be able to keep its 71-year-old cashiers happily employed.

It helps that Market Basket has not been stripped and flipped by private equity finaglers eager to scavenge every last quarter from the corporate carcass (like poor sad Stop & Shop).  So maybe the problem isn't a labor shortage, but a surplus of greedy, cruel, rapacious owners who are finally getting just what they deserve.

Of course, if all else fails, maybe it's time to exhort the proletariat to exert themselves in a Great Leap Forward:

Let's ask former Former Loser Grifter flunky and friend of China Elaine Chao for her deep thoughts on how to solve the “labor shortage:"

Oh, you're being far too modest, Elaine.  Who are you, really?  In addition to being the trophy wife of dreamy Sen. Mitch McConnell, that is.  When Mrs. Mitch was serving as the FLG's Transportation Secretary, she also managed to advance her family's interests by cozying up to the Chinese Government, whose labor policies are known for their, um, effectiveness:

No labor shortages in Elaine Chao's paradise

In China, the Chaos are no ordinary family. They run an American shipping company with deep ties to the economic and political elite in China, where most of the company’s business is centered. The trip was abruptly canceled by Ms. Chao after the ethics question was referred to officials in the State and Transportation Departments and, separately, after The New York Times and others made inquiries about her itinerary and companions. “She had these relatives who were fairly wealthy and connected to the shipping industry,” said a State Department official who was involved in deliberations over the visit. “Their business interests were potentially affected by meetings.”

So it's not surprising that she proposes to motivate American workers not with better wages, working conditions, safety standards, or child care, but with patriotic exhortations to overproduce for the greater glory of the Motherland, or in her case, one of her Motherlands.

And it wouldn't be much of a Great Leap Forward for the former sweetheart of Syosset High to propose a truly Chinese Government solution to a lack of available labor.  Hint: it's working just great now in Xinjiang Province.

By the way, her bosses from her last two stints at the Washington trough are to all appearances unemployed.  Here's hoping she'll have success persuading George W. Bush to wait tables at a Dallas barbecue pit.  As for her other boss, we don't think he could pass the drug test.

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