When I arrived at a fast food restaurant for dinner Friday night, I found the doors locked.
I didn’t have to ask why. There were a few employees inside. The drive-through was still operating. But the doors had been locked to turn away customers. There weren’t enough employees available to open for normal business.
The first time this happened — a couple of months ago — I was shocked. I couldn’t imagine a fast food restaurant just locking its doors and turning away customers. But as it’s happened more and more often since then, I’ve gotten accustomed to it. This has come to seem almost normal.
It’s not just this restaurant, either. After I couldn’t eat where I’d planned, I went to a mid-priced restaurant nearby. It was open, but I was told there was a wait of about 20 minutes. Since I saw open tables all around, I asked why.
“We just don’t have enough employees to open up more tables tonight,” the manager told me.
After talking with various managers and young employees in the last two months, I’ve heard the same thing from most of them. It’s hard to get employees to take jobs right now — because those who might overwise work find it easier to get a government check and stay home instead.
I talked with an area supervisor at one fast food chain who told me everybody seems to be having this labor problem right now.
“If they can get a check and stay home, they don’t want to work for us,” she told me. “They’re lazy, but when the government will give them money to sit on their butts at home, what’s the point of having to work for a living? I can’t compete with that.”
An employee at one restaurant told me a couple of days ago that workers at her company are being offered bonuses for recruiting their friends. If an employee brings in a friend to work at the restaurant — and that person actually shows up to work for at least 21 days — the employee is paid a bonus of $100.
That employee was telling me that she’s talking with a couple of her friends who might come work for a few weeks — long enough to make the bonus for their friend — and then quit. But she says some of them are worried about whether it would keep them from getting unemployment checks, so they’re not sure they’ll do it.
A motel general manager has told me multiple times that he’s had trouble getting employees since the pandemic started. He says people who used to work housekeeping jobs for him tell him frankly that they can make more by doing nothing and taking government checks.
Someone else told me Friday that it’s so difficult to get potential employees to even show up for interviews that one place he knew of was paying people $50 just as an incentive to show up for an interview.
Those who favor governments sending out massive amounts of “relief” would tell you they’re not to blame. They would say there are all sorts of checks and balances to make sure that only “deserving” people get these federal unemployment and “rescue” funds.
But those people are either lying or mistaken. It’s hard to know whether they understand what’s happening and ignore it or if they simply don’t care.
Progressive left “advocates for the poor” say that if “rich corporations” would just pay more to people for taking these jobs, there wouldn’t be a problem. They complain that someone working a fast food job can’t support himself and his family with a “living wage.”
What these people don’t understand — or prefer to ignore — is that these are entry-level jobs which are supposed to teach people how to work, often while workers are still living with families or going to school. These are the sorts of jobs that people take to get experience and learn how to work — and then they move on to higher-paying jobs after that.
If governments are going to pay people the equivalent of $15 an hour — or whatever it is — to stay home and do nothing, many rational people are going to cash the checks and leave employers begging for labor.
But when it’s time for those people to move on to better jobs, they will have no experience. They’ve often never learned what it means to obey a manager in exchange for money. They haven’t learned how to work hard to earn the things they want.
Even worse, the “phony money” that government is currently creating to send out is inflating the money supply and will inevitably create inflation which will drive up prices and cause pain for all of us.
Government “rescue” policies are creating short-term problems. They’re depriving employers of labor at a market price. They’re eliminating the natural learning experience that younger people need about work. And they’re adding more fuel to an economic fire which is going to consume everybody.
These policies are the culmination of bad ideas which have been slowly implemented for more than a hundred years. They didn’t start with Joe Biden. They didn’t start with Donald Trump. They didn’t start with Barack Obama — or with any other politician who you’re eager to blame.
All of these policies started with collectivist ideas that ran throughout different branches of the progressive left movements of the late 19th century and all throughout the 20th century. And many so-called conservatives and alleged champions of freedom are on board with many of these odious and destructive policies today.
We’re on a speeding train which is heading straight over a cliff. It’s impossible to stop what’s been started. The only rational solution is to somehow jump off the train — but most people are afraid to even consider this.
Most would prefer to either keep cashing their “free money” checks or else keep arguing about who’s to blame for the epic collapse that’s coming. This country’s dysfunctional culture and economy are doomed.