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January 12 2014

Are Americans Going Galt?

Charlotte Hays

Ninety-two million Americans are not in the work force—they don’t have jobs and they aren’t looking for jobs.

These 92 million Americans aren’t just out of work—they are resigned to being out of work as a way of life.

Most of these people don’t see gainful employment in the near future, or perhaps ever again. At the risk of being simplistic, I’ll quote CNN on how this catastrophe was visited upon us:

Economist say there are several reasons for the decline [in workforce participation], including the retirement of the baby boomers and fewer students who also work. But the main reason for its recent fall is a lack of good jobs.

Yep, it’s a lack of jobs—remember that when the Obama administration seeks to impose more new, job-killing regulations on businesses.

The ballooning numbers of Americans who are resigned to long-term joblessness inspired Roger L. Simon to suggest in a bleakly humorous piece over at PJ Media that Americans are going Galt:

Tell all your “Objectivist” friends and the libertarian gang at Reason magazine to break out the champagne. Americans may have skipped the movie of Atlas Shrugged, nor have many read any of Ayn Rand’s works, but they have taken the author’s advice anyway and gone John Galt, quitting the work force in record numbers.  According to Zero Hedge, the latest figures show the labor participation rate at 35 year low.

Realistically, it’s even more than 35 because that figure reflects an employment bump when larger numbers of women joined the work force in the seventies and eighties.  (They’re gone now, with or without Gloria Steinem.)

Currently a record 91.8 million Americans are no longer looking for work. That’s almost one and a half times the entire population of France.

We are heading for a disaster. A shrinking workforce won’t be able to pay for the nation’s vast array of entitlements. Moreover, many of these non-working adults, men and women who in previous generations would have met their own financial needs, are now receiving assistance. This is an unsustainable economic situation.

But this situation is not merely economically unsustainable. It is spiritually unsustainable:  

It’s a human emotional disaster.  Freud may have been wrong about a number of things, but he was right about this. Two mainstays that get us through life, other than religion, which Freud didn’t cotton to, are “love and work.”  

I don’t know about love, but the work part of our lives has been brutally kicked out from under us in the Obama years. …

What happens if we don’t again produce enough jobs to sustain the nation and individuals?

This is rapidly approaching a pre-revolutionary condition, but not for a revolution many of us would want to undergo.  To avoid it, a massive change must occur at the federal level.  

But Barack Obama, mired in a dead ideology, doesn’t seem prepared to do anything but prolong the situation with highly conventional liberal solutions that have failed for decades, maybe even centuries.

The United States, once the most dynamic nation in the world, is now a country in which alarming numbers of our citizens accept long-term unemployment as a permanent condition.

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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