We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“The unemployment rate was 3.5% in July, the same as in February 2020, but the U.S. has three million fewer workers. Where did everyone go? This in an economy with 11.2 million job openings. It’s mostly men 25 to 54 who haven’t come back to work. Now a McKinsey study suggests that 40% of workers are thinking of quitting their jobs. Does anyone want to work anymore?”

Andy Kessler, Wall Street Journal ($).

16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Many American government figures are rigged.

    The unemployment figures do not match the number of people not working – more and more people are not working but “unemployment remains low”, regardless of how many people are no longer working and are dependent on government benefits.

    The inflation figures are rigged – the real rate of inflation is vastly higher than the official rate of inflation

    The American historic temperature figures are rigged – yes, the historic temperature figures. What you get on the government websites does not match the old leather-bound record books (or even the same computer websites a few years ago). Tony Heller exposed this long ago – the establishment scream nasty names at him, but he has exposed their lies.

    The voting figures are rigged – “81 million votes” Mr Joseph “Joe – the Big Guy” Biden supposedly got, but if anyone really thinks they came from 81 million voters, I have a nice bridge to sell you.

    Push someone in a protest who is attacking your child – and, if you are a conservative, the FBI will arrive (in black battle armour – like a science fiction film) bringing automatic rifles (which they will wave in your face – whilst screaming at you), but not bothering with such things as showing an arrest warrant – and the “police power” is NOT supposed to be with the Federal Government anyway (not outside D.C., military bases, and Federal government buildings) – people shoving each other in protests and counter protests is a matter for the locally elected sheriff.

    But if you are a leftist – you can shoot dead (or burn alive) someone for such “crimes” as wearing a MAGA cap – and the FBI and the “Justice” Department could-not-care-less. Just as they do not care about the crimes of the Biden family (including those of “Joe – the Big Guy” Joseph Biden) which they have known about for years.

    How can any rational person consider the regime in power in Washington D.C. a dependable ally? I want nothing to do with them.

    “You tool of Putin” – go jump in the nearest lake, I was opposing Vladimer Putin years before it was fashionable to do so.

  • bobby b

    “Many American government figures are rigged.”

    Bingo. If you creatively define things, you can have full employment.

    Our stats are largely based on people receiving unemployment compensation. That generally runs out after 26 weeks. If you are still unemployed when it runs out, you no longer appear as “unemployed” in our stats. You are then classified as being out of the work force, not actively seeking employment, and you simply don’t count.

  • Paul Marks

    As for people choosing benefits rather than work – work is often very nasty, I know (I did menial jobs for many years).

    Milton Friedman, with his Negative Income Tax, never seemed to grasp this – the Speenhamland system (paying people money – from taxation) did not work, it was a horrible mess which grow from the late 1790s to cover most of England and Wales, till it had to be (had-to-be) abolished in 1834.

    Also, the culture has changed – working is so “1950s”, since the 1960s “turn on, tune in, and drop out” (yes Herbert Marcuse) has been pushed (although there was some pushing back in the 1980s). American cities are now filled with such people – mostly on drugs (“no they are mentally ill” – their mental illness is caused by the drugs and by their terrible diet and life, you fool).

    There was a reason why Wisconsin and other States moved from welfare to workfare – pay people not to work, and an increasing number of people (over years and generations) will not work.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Rigged data or not, the person quoted made the point that significant numbers of adults aren’t interested in working and rather enjoyed furlough.

    That’s not sustainable.

  • bobby b

    Problem in the US is, there was this great public push for higher wages for starter jobs, peaking right as Covid came. McDonalds used to pay about $7/hour. Suddenly they couldn’t get applicants at all, and are now still looking for people at $15/hour. A friend runs a school bus operation. He’s short about 25% on staff, and he pays $31/hour.

    The expectations changed, drastically. Starting salaries for real jobs also rose drastically. People just began to expect more. (Good for them, if they can find it.)

    So, many of those open jobs now offer what is considered unacceptable pay. They’re not getting applicants. But I have no idea what those furloughed people are living on, unless it’s just gig-economy off-the-books stuff (which is very possible.)

    (I’ve seen a number of new apps and systems being advertised as “side gigs” and “side hustles”. Basically, they all revolve around selling your existing stuff to others on line. I don’t know if the users understand that that’s merely an unsustainable way to get through short-term hard times. Sign of the times, though.)

  • Bruce

    Another element to consider is this:

    How many people have decided to quietly slide out of the “official” economy; turning to barter, backyard food gardens, etc.? A sudden rise in construction and maintenance of basic steam engines and solar water heaters will get official noses out of joint because those noses are attached to the sort of device that lives for micro-management and power over others.

    The biggest reason for bailing out is the obvious fact that paying taxes just feeds your real enemy. Does ANY sentient being actually believe that they get “their money’s worth” from taxes paid at, essentially, gunpoint?

    In the old Soviet Union there was a widespread attitude of “They pretend to pay us; we pretend to work”.

    As usual, the government response to being ignored or defied is violence, occasionally starting out “softly” with “intimidation” but ALWAYS ratcheting up. This is ALL they know.

  • GregWA

    “want to work”? What’s that got to do with it? Stop giving them money (welfare run amok; universal basic income; etc.) and they will work! It’s really that simple.

    Too many illegals competing for entry level jobs?…secure the border.

    Too much pull from good jobs by employers who don’t look too carefully at the documentation their obviously illegal applicants show them? Put a few owners/CEOs in prison and confiscate all their wealth. Do that to 10 ag companies or 2 of your local landscaping companies and the “pull of good jobs” would dry up overnight.

    This is not rocket science.

    Oh, but you might have to mow your own lawn or hire a neighborhood kid to do it.

  • GregWA

    bobby b at 10:07pm, “…there was this great public push for higher wages for starter jobs…”

    You know I recall that as well, but now that I see that in writing I suspect it’s not true.

    There was a media push. A push by Federal, State and Local governments. Universities. All the Usual Suspects. And they were very public about it…is that what you mean by “public push” vs “a push by/from the public”? “They” want us to think it was the latter pushing but I doubt it.

    If only we had a reliable way to know what the public thinks, like through voting or accurate polling, we might have some insight here. But no one trusts those metrics any longer.

  • andyinsdca

    No mention of the 1000s of excess deaths in the past couple of yrs (lots of fentanyl ODs, for example); if someone dies, then they vanish off the unemployment rolls…

  • Paul Marks

    JP is correct – this is not sustainable, having vast numbers of people dependent on a de facto “Basic Income” may work in the insane fantasies of the World Economic Forum, but in real life it is an economic and cultural (societal) disaster.

    It anyone doubts that – then visit Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Pine Ridge has everything the establishment elite support – communal ownership of land (that is what they want to use Property Taxes and Inheritance Taxes to “achieve” – it is very United Nations Agenda 2030), “free” medical care, benefits, free food, and on and on – and it is an utter disaster in every way. Turning the Western World into a giant Pine Ridge Reservation is not a good idea – Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, and so on, are mistaken.

    And to people who say, “but the Roman Empire did it for centuries” – they did it in a few cities (such as Rome itself) – the number of people getting these benefits in the cities was strictly limited, you could NOT just turn up and say, “where is my free food?” well you could say it – but you would not get any.

    In the Roman Empire most people were small farmers and craftsmen – they got no more benefits than Americans got in the 1950s (actually less – because they did not get government schools or old age pensions).

    “Rome was a Welfare State” – “Rome” (city of) perhaps – but the Roman Empire was NOT.

    By the way, in the dying days of the Western Roman Empire the Emperor Majorian realised that the ordinary citizens needed to be armed (to fight off the Barbarians) and repealed the laws (which went back to Augustus) restricting military weapons and training to the army, he tried to recreate the armed citizens of the old Republic.


    As he was being tortured to death by the Barbarians who had taken over what was left of the Western Roman Army (perhaps the savages were fresh from their “Critical Theory” classes – the sort of thing the Frankfurt School types who now control the Pentagon are pushing), I suspect that the Emperor Majorian realised it was too late.

  • llamas

    There’s a clue in the figures for Social Security (retirement and diability benefits). Despite the fact that Covid disproportionately affected those of Social Security retirement age (62 and up) the number of persons now collecting Social Security benefits has increased beyond what would be expected based on prior years.

    My take on this is that lots and lots of older workers have left the reportable categories of “employment” and have either a) become ‘disabled’ and thus eligible for SSI (disability) benefits, or b) stopped working and started to collect Social Security retirement benefits earlier than they had previously planned, or c) stopped working at a regular, reportable job and turned instead to casual, irregular and contract work, or d) some combination of the above.

    That’s my situation – I was let go during the height of Covid from my job in the defense industry. Instead of looking for another ‘regular’ job, I took 26 weeks off on double-unemployment, then immediately turned round and began working on short-term contracts as a self-employed consultant. I know several others in my age group who are similarly-situated, who have specific skills and experience that can’t be easily duplicated. In addition, the flexibility of contract work allows me to have several side-hustles, some for fun, some for profit, but none of them reportable as “employment”. If the contracts slow down, I have a pension I can start to draw, or I can start Social Security retirement benefits, or both. I have plenty of 401k to back me up as well. I’m never going back to 9-to-5 again. And there’s plenty more like me. Why would we? Taxes keep rising, gas prices make travelling to work 2x as expensive as it used to be, inflation makes everything associated with Going To Work a negative. I know a couple people who were debt-free who have actually taken on new debt, simply because the rate of inflation makes the effective interest rate negative – it’s free money! This is economic destruction in the long term, of course, but hardly-surprising that many people look to their medium-term self-interest.



  • John

    As anecdotally the dead turn out in force to vote can one of our US commenters advise whether there is the perception of such voters still claiming and receiving disability or retirement benefits?

  • John (September 28, 2022 at 1:27 pm), a US liberal I worked with once assured me that the very reason I shouldn’t worry about that six-years-dead woman who voted in two presidential elections after her demise was that she also collected benefits in those years, so clearly someone was managing her (estate) and that made her a special case, vote-fraud-wise, so no reason to wonder if vote fraud might be occurring more generally.

    Yeah, I didn’t quite follow the logic either. (He lived in Aspen, Colorado.)

  • Steve

    How do you ‘not return to the workforce’? Do you just stop eating and paying your rent? I don’t get it.

  • Paul Marks

    Steve – they get various benefits but are not counted as unemployed.