HomeBudget & Tax NewsShapiro: The Nation in the Bubble

Shapiro: The Nation in the Bubble

This week, the Biden administration received just the latest slap in the face from cruel reality: An economic report showing just 194,000 jobs added in September, short of the 500,000 jobs forecast by most economists. The unemployment rate dived to 4.8 percent from 5.2 percent — not because of job gains, but because more and more Americans are dumping out of the workforce. Meanwhile, inflation continued to pick up steam, with domestic labor shortages exacerbating supply-chain bottlenecks.

How should we explain the bizarre spectacle of a nation that should be booming stagnating instead?

For the Biden team, the answers range from the completely idiotic (lack of government stimulus, after the greatest single spending binge in world history) to the merely foolish (the delta variant, caseload from which has taken a nosedive). However, the actual answer is simple: We have spent a year training Americans to believe that work is alternately unsafe, unavailable, or unnecessary.

First, we have trained vaccinated Americans to believe that they are unsafe. According to a CBS News poll in July, just 48 percent of those who were unvaccinated said they were worried about infection from the delta variant, compared with 72 percent of fully vaccinated Americans — this even though vaccinated Americans are rarely hospitalized and nearly never die from COVID-19.

Biden himself continues to trot out the lie that the vaccinated are not safe from the unvaccinated. In early September, he pushed for a national workplace vaccine mandate, claiming that it was necessary to “protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers.” But that’s precisely what the vaccine was for. It’s no surprise, then, that so many vaccinated people—the first people who should be eager to reenter workplaces—are instead hesitant to go back to the office.

Second, we have barred the unvaccinated from going back to work. Biden suggested that vaccine mandates would heighten employment by making the vaccinated feel safe. But that hasn’t worked: Instead, all Biden did was take jobs from those who were always willing to go back to work. Vaccine mandates caused thousands of Americans to be laid off, including in crucial industries such as health care and air travel.

Most importantly, we have trained Americans to believe that work is unnecessary. As jobs go unfilled, a certain contingent of politicians celebrates — they say that workers are unchained from their jobs and that this is a net positive. In August 2020, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told Vice, “Only in America, when the president tweets about liberation, does he mean ‘go back to work’ … I think a lot of people should just say no. We’re not going back to work.” Paying people to stay home, in this view, is merely incentivizing businesses to pay more for fewer hours, thus making life better for those who choose to work; for everyone else, the government dole.

Now, most Americans have rejected this last lesson. Most Americans want to work; most Americans are working. Hence the unpopularity of the Biden administration spending plans, which most Americans feel artificially suppress economic growth and stifle opportunity. But Biden and Democrats are counting on the long-term play: grow government, breed dependence, and ultimately shift the relationship between Americans and the government.

Biden promised he wouldn’t shut down the economy or the country — he’d shut down the virus. Instead, thanks to his progressive priorities, he’s made the pandemic a problem with no logical endpoint in sight, shutting down the economy and the country in the process — all in pursuit of his transformational vision. The current labor shortage is a feature of the plan, not a bug. But Biden didn’t promise transformation in the 2020 race — he promised a return to normalcy. And so, his approval ratings are cratering—as they ought to.

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Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro was hired by Creators Syndicate at age 17 to become the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the United States. His columns are printed in major newspapers and websites including The Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Conservative Chronicle, Townhall.com, ABCNews.com, WorldNetDaily.com, Human Events, FrontPageMag.com, FamilySecurityMatters.com. His columns have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor,Chicago Sun-Times, Orlando Sentinel, The Honolulu Advertiser,The Arizona Republic, Claremont Review of Books and RealClearPolitics.com. He has been the subject of articles by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Associated Press, and The Christian Science Monitor; he has been quoted on "The Rush Limbaugh Show," "The Dr. Laura Show," at CBSNews.com, in the New York Press, The Washington Times, and The American Conservative.

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