05 Dec Bonus Episode: Men are Being Demonized for the So-Called “Labor Shortage” 🦜
Not content to settle for generational clickbait, now we need to point fingers based on gender. 😒
On November 13th, I published the article, “The poop storm is your fault” because that’s where we’re at. The fat cats who created this mess are NOT gonna blame themselves. But they and their corporate shills are more than happy to blame others.
According to Mike Rowe’s podcast, “It’s Worse Than You Think. The workforce participation rate that is. The number of able-bodied men choosing not to work is a crisis, and Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute, can prove it.” This spawned an amusing video Dave Ramsey produced titled, “7 Million American Males Refuse to Go to Work (Here’s Why).”
Naturally, we MUST ask the question: is this even true?
✔️ Is it important to try something new and fail? Yes, of course. But using that as a justification for staying in a crappy job that you hate rather than finding a better one seems like a pretty bizarre notion to me. We’re getting really close to: “sit down, shut up, and do what you’re told, dammit. Now, we’re not gonna do that and we haven’t worked for a boss in 20 years, but you had better obey, peon!”
✔️ Is it accurate that 7 million men (specifically) are not working and are not even looking for work? Well, we can find literally THE SAME story going back to August of 2016. See for yourself! https://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-7-million-american-men-063039864.html / https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2016/08/15/men-not-at-work-why-so-many-men-ages-of-25-to-54-are-not-working/
✔️ So even though this statistic is 5+ years old, we’re now seeing it recycled as the cause of the so-called labor shortage. Essentially, the argument is: stop watching TV and playing video games and go to work instead, you 7 million dudes. If you took these jobs, we wouldn’t have inflation and we wouldn’t have a labor shortage! Never mind The Fed’s policies or the printing up of fiat currency like it was candy. Ohhhh noooo. Now we’re gonna resurrect an old story and use it for the blame game!
Links I discuss in this episode:
Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/
Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Well, do I have a doozy for you today. Have you ever seen that meme of all the Spider Mans pointing at each other? I think that’s where we’re at now, with this economic blame game, more people are starting to finally acknowledge that we’re in some sort of a poop storm, whatever it may be. stagflation, hyperinflation, recession, call it what you will, more people are starting to wake up to reality that things are not sunshine and roses, or peaches and cream. We are in some kind of poopoo storm economically. So here we go. Time to play the blame game. And I guess if generational clickbait isn’t enough for you. In other words, if you’re not content, to put all of the blame on younger millennials and Gen Z kids and say, well, it’s all their fault, they don’t want to work anymore. Then now, you can blame the economy based on gender. Dave Ramsey recorded one of his famous rants on YouTube, of course, I’ll drop a link in the write up so you can check it out if you want to. You know, if you want to waste your time listening to that, you know, be my guest, I will drop a link to it. But the rant is titled 7 million American males refuse to go to work parentheses. Here’s why. Well look, spoiler alert, most of it is him just screaming and whooping and hollering and oh, they’re playing Call of Duty, even though they’ve never been called to any kind of duty. And parents need to kick them out of the basement. It’s all the moms fault. They’re mollycoddling these boys, and they’re letting them live in the basement. Can’t even hardly say it without yawning. It’s the same old narrative we’ve been getting. Remember the turtle Mitch McConnell, people are flush with cash from the 2020 stimulus. Okay, it’s the end 2022 At this point, but somehow all of these people are living in all of these grandma’s basements off of 2020 stimulus money. And they’re not going to go back to work until they run out of that stimulus money. And it’s like, well, they must have some mad money saving or money multiplying skills, I would need to learn how to make money stretch like that. To me, it sounds like the Jesus miracle of the loaves and the fishes. So in his mind, it’s mostly just the people hanging out in mom or grandma’s basement, or they have a girlfriend or a wife supporting them who is not requiring that the man of the house so to speak, is getting up and going to work every day. She’s doing the breadwinning. Yeah, again, a lot of screaming a lot of ranting and raving and his advice on said matter. But he also references one of Mike Rose podcast episodes. I’ll drop a link to that one as well. It’s not as much of the screaming and the hooping and hollering as you’re gonna get if you go to Dave Ramsey’s video, but the podcast title is, it’s worse than you think. And in the blurb we find the workforce participation rate that is the number of able bodied men choosing not to work is a crisis and Nicolas Eva Stott Henry Wendt, Chair in political economy at the American Enterprise Institute can prove it. Now, it’s interesting because, essentially, in the beginning of that podcast episode, this man admits I’m actually not a labor market expert. I’m a mathematician. It’s like, Oh, okay. Well, thanks for getting that out of the way front and center. One of the most crucial things that we have to ask ourselves nowadays is, is this even true? I cannot imagine and it does not matter to me, whether you’re on the left or the right. You’re a moderate, a conservative, a liberal, whatever label you would put on yourself. I truly don’t think it matters. I cannot imagine anyone saying I’m just going to blindly trust I’m going to blindly accept what I’m told in an article or what I hear on a podcast. I’m not aren’t going to do any fact checking. I’m not going to go and see for myself. I’m just going to assume that they’re probably telling me the truth. Good luck with that. I can’t, I can’t imagine living that way. I. Yeah. Yeah. So whenever I saw all of this, I’m like, Is this even true? It doesn’t. To me, it doesn’t even really make that much sense. It sounds like the same old bull crap narrative that we’re getting labor shortage, labor shortage. No one wants to work Coca Cola 11 million open jobs, too. Legit, open jobs for every one unemployed person. So now it’s taking shape of if these lazy men would just get out of wherever, the girlfriend’s apartment, grandma’s house, mommy’s basement, whatever, and take these supposedly 11 million open jobs, well, then we wouldn’t have an insert problem here. stagflation, inflation, recession, labor shortage, too many open jobs, employers getting frustrated and cutting back, et cetera, et cetera, at all. Is this even true? Personally, all right. I’m gonna give you my Dennis Miller disclaimer here. This is just my opinion. And I could be wrong. In my opinion, as well as frankly, when I’m seeing in the job market day in and day out. Do I personally think that there are 11 million legitimate open jobs that will pay you a living wage? No, not just No, but hell no. Do I also think that 7 million men are living in mommy’s house, grandma’s basement girlfriend’s apartment, and they’re not working, they’re not looking for work, and therefore they are the cause of this economic mess. That’s also a resounding hell no. I published an article on Medium about the poop storm is your fault. Because yet again, I could see what was happening and I could see what was coming. The people who actually for real created this mess are not going to blame themselves. The Fed is not going to come out and saying, you know, we had some crap economic policies. We printed up fiat currency and handed it out like it was candy. No, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to instead like the Spider Man meme, everybody’s gonna point at each other and try to figure out someone to blame dammit, we need a scapegoat. We need to say it’s the fault of and then insert whoever their Gen Z kids and younger millennials apparently now men are responsible for it. People that are holdouts that want to continue working remotely, people who are still afraid of the witch, having just recently been through that experience. If someone were to come up to me and say I’m well, I don’t know why anybody would still be concerned about that. On my might just slap them in the face. Because it’s like when you’ve almost died a couple of times and run up mega hospital bills fighting for your life. And then somebody wants to tell you, Oh, well, come on. We need to cross pollinate again. You need to go downtown and eat in the cafes and get your butt back in a cubicle. How can you not want to punch him right in the mouth? I’m just saying. So part of my questioning, is this even true? led me to find that it’s not as though this statistic or this piece of information just came out yesterday, or three months ago, or six months ago? No, indeed it did not. In fact, we have to go all the way back to the summer of 2016. To find this article cropping up. And people asking the question, well, why are these men who are able bodied and have you know, working age, let’s say, why are they not employed? What is going on with that? Hmm, okay, and so why are these outlets digging up this statistic? And then not openly saying, hey, look, we’re taking information that’s more than five years old. And we’re trying to say it’s the fault of it’s the fault of the shutdowns. It’s the fault of lazy people. It’s the fault of a particular gender. It’s the fault of a particular entire generation, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Why are they not saying that? If you’re going to take old ass information, why would that not be the very first thing out Have your mouth. Um, just long pause there. So you can sort of theorize for yourself, and we’re going about why that might be. Because to me, in my opinion, it feels really deceptive to get on social media platform and start whooping and hollering and show it out, or to record an episode and be like, well, this is a major problem. Well, I’m just so disappointed in the men of this country. And look, you can have social commentary, I’m not gonna sit here and say that social commentators and people that analyze pop culture, I’m not saying that there’s no validity to that, far from it. The point that I’m making is when you start treading into my territory of the job market, the labor market, et cetera. And you’re going to try to say that it’s the fault of all these men who are supposedly not willing to take all these supposedly open jobs. That’s where it kind of sticks in my craw. Now, if you want to make a social commentary, if you want to say, Hey, this is depressing, why are these men just sitting at home? Playing video games all day? And why are their spouses or their domestic partners or whoever? Why are they footing the bill for it? Why would you not require more of the person that you’re in a romantic relationship with? Or if you’re that person’s parent or grandparent? Why would you not say, Hey, Billy, Tommy, you need to get up off your dead butt and do something, whether it’s helping around the house going and getting a job running my errands for me, whatever. You can’t just sit here and have a free ride anymore. I’m not opposed to that at all. Not at all. Do you think that I would put up with that for a Red Hot Minute? I assure you, I would not. I wouldn’t put up with it from a spouse. And I wouldn’t put up with it from a child or grandchild, either one. Okay, I think you should all know by now that I’m not really a super big fan of lazy lifestyles and lazy people. It’s just, it’s really inaccessible to me. Now when you’re sick, and let me tell you, if you get that it very well could lay you out. Same thing with other illnesses like pneumonia, or influenza, or the RSV that’s going around like, there are certain illnesses, that if they visit your house, you’re not going to be doing jack squat. You’re going to be laid up in a bed fighting for your life, or you’re going to be laid up in a bed, in and out of consciousness because you’re taking so many medications just to try to survive. I get it. In my mind convalescing from an illness is not laziness. It’s doing what you have to do to survive, so that you can live to fight another day. Sort of like dealing with an injury. You may want to train you may want to work out or play a particular sport. But if your doctor your orthopedist has told you, if you get out there and try to do X, Y and Z with this injury, you’re going to destroy your body, you have to build yourself back up. You can’t always play through the pain you can’t always play injured, there are times when you have to sit on the sidelines and let your body heal. And then whenever you are ready to jump back into the sport or the athletic training, you have to do so under the guidance of a physical therapist or an orthopedist and take it slow. I mean if you blew out your ankle, and then you finally got the cast off, which would immediately want to go and run the Boston Marathon as soon as the cast came off. Some people are hard heads and they probably would be right back in the cast again. So in my mind, that’s not laziness, convalescing, recovering getting your body built back after an injury or an illness. That’s not laziness. And I want to be emphatically clear about that. What I’m talking about is laziness as an entire lifestyle, an entire life decision, where your whole world is sitting on the couch and binge watching stuff on TV or playing a video game or having your nose stuck in your phone. You know, I’ve talked before about what it is to be involved in agriculture. And the animals need tending. You need to clean out their stalls you need to feed them make sure they have water and it doesn’t matter how you’re feeling that day. So no, to be totally clear. I’m not getting on here like some superduper bleeding heart. It’s like, oh, people should just be lazy if they want to be lazy. I wouldn’t personally put up with that. No, no, but not everybody is me. And there may be somebody who their spouse doesn’t work and that’s how they like it. Or they have an adult child continuing to live with them. And that’s how They like it. In my mind, that’s none of my damn business. I know you’re not supposed to use the L word, you know, is this a dirty word? Dirty, dirty word. But I’m pretty libertarian about that kind of thing. Live and let live, if that’s what somebody else wants to do if there’s some mom and dad out there, and they have Billy the 25 year old living at home, they don’t tell him to mow the lawn. He didn’t have to wash the cars, he doesn’t have to run errands for them. He’s not working. He just sits and plays on the computer all day. That’s between them and their kid. I’m not getting in the middle of that and telling them well, like the Dave Ramsey video, if you watch him, you need to get your butt out her. Okay, I wouldn’t want somebody coming up into my house and telling me and my family how we ought to be living so I’m not going to go get in somebody else’s sandbox about it. I mean, it’s not at the end of the day, if you’re not asking me for my taxpayer money, you know, like Wall Street and the fat cats and all the freaking industries we’ve been asked to bail out if you’re not showing up asking me for my taxpayer money. If you’ve got somebody who might be a moocher. Let’s just be honest about it. You got a mooch hanging out on your sofa or in your basement and you’re fine with it. You’re not taking any money from me. You’re financing the mooch all on your own? Well, that’s on you. Again, social commentary on these things, bring it on, bring it on. But saying that the economic mess that we’re in right now and trying to say that the job market is suffering wage inflation and wage increases are so bad and it’s all the fault of these whoever the Gen Z kids or these men who supposedly don’t want to work? That’s that’s where I take some umbrage because I think in my opinion, it’s just a flat out freaking lie. No, I don’t think that these support all these supposedly open jobs are gonna pay somebody a living wage. I don’t, I think more than likely, the lion’s share of them are retail, fast food Gen labor. Some of them, let’s be honest, are probably part time minimum wage jobs. That is not going to pay you a living wage. It wouldn’t pay you a living wage, even if we didn’t have all of this inflation. But it sure as hell wouldn’t pay you a living wage right now. Let’s be honest about this and call a thing a thing instead of trying to play the blame game. Like all the Spider Man’s, we could take a very hard look at the fat cats, the bankers that ask us for taxpayer money, the government etc. If we were the Fed, if we wanted to start pointing at each other, and playing the blame game, I would go there before I would start looking at somebody living in grandma’s basement. So there is an excellent and much less biased article that you can find on brookings.edu. Of course, I will put a link to it in the write up and you will see it is dated Monday, August 15 of 2016. Not 2022 or even 2021 2016. The title is men not at work, why so many men aged 25 to 54 are not working, I’ll read the job market is a whole lot better than it was during the worst of the great recession. But around 7 million American men between the ages of 25 and 54, mostly too old to be in school and too young to retire are neither working nor looking for work. That amounts to 12% of all men in those prime working ages. And that doesn’t count another 2 million who are looking for work but haven’t found it. The large number of prime age men who are on the sidelines is a problem that predates the Great Recession. Okay, I’m gonna button long enough to say if it predates the Great Recession, which kicked off in 2008, then this information is even older than that. The share of prime age men who are working or looking for work has been falling for half a century. Hmm. Right. Right. But somehow this is new information and is responsible for the economic poop storm that we’re in. Oh, of course, this issue has drawn the attention of Jason Furman Chair of President Obama because that’s how far back we’re going President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors. He came by the Hutchins Center at Brookings recently to talk with me about this then they have a link below that where you can watch a video which is very interesting. I recommend it here are some highlights I’m continuing to read, Who are these men. They’re disproportionately low income men who either dropped out of high school or didn’t go beyond a high school diploma. And they don’t really talk about that when these people that are on social media having a good rant, they really don’t talk about that part of it. What are they doing? They’re not spending any more time on childcare, not spending any more time on chores, they are spending a lot more time watching TV than men who are in the labor force firm and says we have because they’re home all the time. Again, am I from a social a social commentary point of view as well, it’s just a relationship commentary point of view, would I want a spouse that did not work, but then also would not assist with childcare? Or pet care? would not do chores around the house and wouldn’t go out and mow the lawn wouldn’t wash the car wouldn’t go to the grocery store? No. NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW No, no, absolutely not. No. But if somebody else wants to have a relationship like that, it’s really not my place to get in the middle of it. That is their choice. Why are there so many more of them, even though the economy has bounced back? Surely some of these guys don’t want to work or getting by on their wives income. But Furman says less than a quarter of the men who aren’t in the workforce have a working life, and this fraction has been decreasing for 50 years. It turns out not having a job or looking for one isn’t a great way to find a wife. Some of these men are getting by on government benefits, such as Social Security Disability. But the increase in men on disability isn’t nearly large enough to account for the growth in the ranks of men not at work. That’s something else you’re not going to find in the social media rants, because they are going to tell you just like Mitch McConnell, those stupid stemmy Jex from 2020, they’re going to tell you that all of these men are on the dole. They’re all making an absolute crap ton of money on the government’s dime, which really, let’s face it is the taxpayers dime, they’re going to tell you that all of these men are making buku bucks on welfare, and or food stamps. This article is telling us that’s not the case. FURMAN argues that one big reason these men aren’t working or looking for work, is because they’ve realized that employers aren’t interested in hiring workers with few skills or little education. So they’ve given up why should we worry, some men choose not to work and can afford not to? That’s great, Furman says, but for many, probably most, dropping out of the workforce not only means a lack of income, but also a loss of the dignity that comes with not working once more dropping out of the labor force is associated with depression, with drug use with suicide, and with a range of bad outcomes. He notes. Now I will butt in here and say, What kind of life is it to essentially do nothing to stare at a screen all day? I’ve talked about that before in the context of people who want to game the system at work. People who want to go beyond quote, quiet quitting, and get paid or trying to get paid to do abs a freakin literally nothing. Do you want to get to your deathbed, and say, I spent a lot of time watching TV and playing on the phone. I mean, what what kind of life is that? And then when you think about people coping with the on we have a life like that by turning to drugs or to suicide, getting very depressed and not feeling good about themselves. Yeah, of course, again, from a social commentary point of view, I get it. I’ll continue to read. So the men would be better off if they were working. But so would the rest of us as the baby boomers retire in large numbers, Furman says, it’d be great to make up for that to take people that are here in the United States, that probably would be a lot happier working and enable them to have a path to get a job that would grow the workforce, increase our growth and help with all sorts of things like fiscal sustainability. Yeah, of course, in a perfect world. In a perfect utopia, you have the dignity of work, you’re treated well, you treat your employer Well, in return, and everybody’s happy. There’s like that South Park Song, they’re like Happy, happy, happy. Everybody’s happy. Yeah, in a perfect world, it would be that way. In reality, however, it’s not that way. And I think about people trapped in jobs from hell, where you have to have that job because you need the money and or the health benefits. I used to know a person and he, it was wasn’t necessarily that he needed the money per se in the job that he was trapped in. But he had to have the health and dental insurance his family just could not get by. There were some chronic like medical and dental issues within the family that had to be covered by insurance. It’s not always realistic to paint a rosy picture. Oh, the dignity of work. Oh, you’re better doing some job than doing no job at all. Have you ever had a job or a boss straight from the pits of hell? I’m very skeptical of people who act like Well, yeah, I’ve had a few bad bosses in my life, but I just sucked it up and stayed there. Mm hmm. Yeah. How bad was it really? Because I could tell you some stories both from my own personal life, as well as stories I’ve heard over the years and they are plentiful from candidates about jobs from hell, unsafe working conditions, bosses, who are sex harassers, perverts, complete creeps, bigots, homophobes, racists, anti Semites, sexes. How long do you really want to be around that? I mean, unless you’re the kind of person who agrees with it, and and wants to egg it on, you’re not going to want to be around that. So I think for me this, I also really take. And I’m trying to think of the right word, just some shoving it away. I just know, I’m not I don’t think that every single job out there is going to imbue you with the so called dignity of work. I’m sorry, I don’t. And I’m just being honest. Under the heading, what should we do about it? We have government policy can make a difference. FURMAN argues. Oh, of course, isn’t that always the solution? improving education and access to college could help by making workers more attractive to employers. But yeah, here we are. Later on down the line, a lot of people are not going to college. The cost of it is obscene. And the more employers are saying, You know what, we’re not going to require a bachelor’s degree a standard operating procedure, it’s more important that you know how to do the job rather than that you have the piece of paper. So would spending more on helping people find jobs as other countries do, providing childcare subsidies and paid leave could draw more men and women into the workforce? Expanding the tax subsidies offered to low wage workers. So jobs are more attractive would be a plus two? And quote, yeah, I mean, in my mind, I want to be really careful how I say this. It is. It’s not right. And it is a very unfortunate trap. When you have these companies that will not pay their employees, a living wage, yet these large corporations and companies are getting all kinds of tax cuts and tax breaks. And their employees are having to utilize government programs. So for all intents and purposes, we as the American taxpayers are subsidizing this so called cheap labor. Why is that being allowed to happen? I mean, when people look back at yesteryear, because one of the things that’s being touted in the micro episode and in the Dave Ramsey rant screens on there is that the labor force participation rate amongst these able bodied men is the lowest it’s been since World War Two. Well, how were things different back then, I mean, when you think about the cost of living, and you think about what it was like, when one person in the household, held down a job outside the home, and then the other person in the household, did the domestic work, helped with the children, got them off to school, kept the house clean, et cetera, et cetera. I remember one time, my grandma telling me, this would have been, I think, about 1951. She told me the story about how my grandpa’s older sister chewed her out one day, because she was not ironing my grandpa’s underwear. And so my grandpa’s older sister, like told her all this stuff about how well when you’re a proper wife. If you’re going to be a good wife, you’re going to be a proper housewife, you’re going to maintain things for your husband the way that you should be doing. Like that even includes ironing his underwear. It sounds like such a different world to us. And I remember after my grandpa served in Korea, they were able to purchase a house I can’t off the top of my head But I don’t even remember what they paid for it. But it would be laughable you know, in terms of today’s market, they were able to buy a house using the GI Bill, some kind of military incentives that my grandfather got after he served in Korea. I mean, you know, my grandmother did work she did, she worked for Sears Roebuck for her entire career. But it was not because she had to, it was because that was what she chose to do. Some of the women who went to work during the second world war during the Korean conflict, decided that they wanted to keep working even after the war, or the conflict was over with, in some cases, that was true. But I mean, when I think back to all of the other houses on that street, most of the wives did not work. The husbands had a job outside the house. And when I say they didn’t work, don’t send me hate mail. They obviously they worked at home. So the husband went outside the home and performed a job outside the home. The wives were doing the domestic work around the house. And they were not struggling, they were not living in poverty. A lot of them were not living paycheck to paycheck, either. There was money left over at the end of the month. Yeah, I mean, we’re just we’re living in such a different world now. That I think touting these statistics about well, you know, back at that point in time, 98% of able bodied men had jobs and what the hell’s wrong with all these people today are dark? Well, it’s different flipping world. Okay, as I said, if you want to make a social commentary about it, that part I get. But I think for me, where, where I get lost, where I’m just, I’m turned off, and I have a sour feeling in my stomach. You’re trying to take old statistics and old information as I would say, in Russian meat, you will know of what’s nothing new. You’re trying to take old information and pawn it off, like it’s brand new information, when it’s not that sticks in my craw. You’re using the same kind of thing as generational clickbait. Really, only instead of saying no Gen Z kids want to work anymore. You’re saying all of these able bodied men are at home, in a basement or on the couch while somebody else is footing the bill or they’re all drug heads, which we know is not true. We just mean empirically and using your own thought process, you have to know that these all nothing. Always never everyone no one attention getting clickbait titles are exactly that they’re just clickbait that it doesn’t doesn’t even reflect reality, then you’re trying to blame the economy on these men? Oh, it just gives me a headache. You know, please, for the love of God. When you see stuff like that, do your own research, look into it determine if it’s even true. Is it even accurate? Is it current relevant information? Or is it something that’s being recycled to push a narrative? In my opinion, okay, that’s all this is just my opinion. And I could be wrong. In my opinion. There are people out there talking heads, commentators, social media, individuals, et cetera, who are nothing more than corporate shills. They’re being paid by corporate America to push a particular narrative. And unfortunately, in some cases, that narrative is yes. Okay, we’re finally willing to admit the economy is in bad shape. The job market is not as red hot as we led you to believe. But well, it’s not our fault. It’s your fault. Thanks for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. We’ll see you next time.