Monday, January 20, 2014

What About the War on Work?

According to Richard K. Vedder, senior fellow at the Independent Institute, professor of economics at Ohio University and co-author of "Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in America,"  the government has declared a War on Work.  And he blames policies of both Republicans and Democrats.  

While 50 years ago the federal government declared war on poverty, I would submit that in recent years it has led an undeclared but real new war: a War on Work. The government increasingly is using its coercive powers to punish people who want to work, creating a vast class of able-bodied Americans dependent on the government — and politicians — for their daily bread.

The statistics are startling. A smaller proportion of working-age Americans works today than when the recession officially ended 4-1/2 years ago (June 2009).

But this trend is not just a failure of policies to encourage economic recovery, such as the stimulus package and the ineffective, highly expansionary Federal Reserve monetary policy. The decline in work has been going on since at least 2000, under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

He goes on in the column with specifics:

While a vast number of government policies cause a decline in work, let me mention just six:
• Extended unemployment benefits.
• Expansion of food stamps.
• Higher taxes on workers, especially the most productive ones.
• Increases in Social Security disability payments.
• Increases in Pell Grants and other forms of federal higher education aid.
• Increases in minimum wage laws at local, state and federal levels.

Continue reading the column here:

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