Austrians, Republicans and gratuitous cruelty
As we all know, the Republicans refused to extend unemployment benefits during the last Congressional session. Their notion, apparently, is that all those unemployed slackers are just taking a vacation with taxpayer money and need to just get a job, already, despite the fact that there are four unemployed applicants for every job opening in America meaning that three of them aren’t gonna get the job no matter what.
The GOP is, thus, fundamentally a subscriber to the Classical/Chicago School notion of the Great Depression as the Great Vacation, where millions of hard-working people world-wide inexplicably decided to go on long vacations for a decade until the outbreak of WW2. The notion is that if you’re unemployed, it’s voluntary, because you could always get a job if you lowered your wage demands.
There are two practical problems with that theory — a) there is a practical floor on wages in that wages insufficient to sustain life will not be accepted because if you’re going to starve to death anyhow you might as well do so with some dignity, and b) I as a small business owner am not going to hire another employee for any wage other than “free” unless there is demand to justify it, because as a capitalist my job is to make as much profit as I can (meaning with as little payroll as I can get away with), I’m a businessman, not a charity.
I.e., lack of demand, not wages, are why I’m not hiring.
So anyhow, that practical stuff gets ignored by people who are in love with the elegant theories of the Austrians despite their utter lack of applicability to *this* universe. Which is one reason why WASF.
This post originally appeared at Badtux the Snarky Penguin.