Just the other day, the CEO of one of our shared clients, Edward Gniewek of Bristol Compressors, made the news by speaking out about the lack of skilled workers to fill their positions. Gniewek said, “Tuesday, we had to operate the plant with 35 fewer people than what we need. It makes it very difficult for us to get the productivity out that’s required for us to fill our orders. When we look at our needs, it goes on beyond what we currently have and what we’re going to add in the near future. We are growing and we need to fill positions.” He added, “As the company grows, we will find a way to make compressors whether it’s here in Bristol or someplace else. We’re going to make compressors.”
This isn’t just a veiled threat. Countless companies have been forced to shift some or all of their production overseas for lack of a skilled workforce. Our agency, among others, has scoured the countryside trying to help them find people, as we have for our other clients. It seems like everybody is in the same boat – struggling to find qualified workers willing to, well, WORK. Meanwhile, America’s welfare and disability rolls are as large as ever and growing.
What is wrong with this picture?
Imagine a country that’s running along nicely. The economy is so robust that people who want to work generally have a job which, assuming they work hard and move up the career ladder, more often than not pays enough to support their families and save a little extra. The work ethic is such that employers who need good workers and are willing to pay the market rate don’t have a lot of trouble finding them. Goods and services are readily accessible and nothing except the free market itself exists to stifle new ideas and inventions – if it can be conceived of somebody will inevitably make it happen. Crime rates are low. Government is small but efficient, and there is plenty of money to construct the very best public works, which in turn helps drive business and prosperity. Both individual and corporate freedom reign supreme, and the “hidden hand” of the free market guides the economy to historic levels never before seen in any civilization before or since.
Such was the economic situation in America up until the last fifty years or so. Indeed, we rode these principles, learned from centuries of trial and error and implemented after a bloody but necessary Revolution, like a rocket ship to greater and greater heights of prosperity.
Sadly, it hardly describes the country we’ve living in today. Today’s America is so unrecognizable from its past that it’s hard to believe we’re still the same country. It’s almost as if those in power suddenly and arbitrarily decided that this great economic engine, an engine that has produced more human comfort and well-being than any other in history, had to be destroyed at any cost.
And the real tragedy is, it wasn’t all that hard.
Here are six ways our leaders have managed to destroy our country economically without firing a shot. Here is why staffers, recruiters, and HR professionals are struggling to fill their jobs in today’s America.
Make people dependent and lazy
It’s human nature to want to have fun all the time, to want to be comfortable all … the … time. Our innately human desire for meaningful work doesn’t necessarily mean we “want” to wake up early in the morning to a rousing day of stacking car batteries, assembling compressors, shoveling sand, washing dishes, collecting garbage, or driving a truck. Not every job is fun. Not every job keeps your hands and your clothes clean at the end of the day. And yet, those jobs are absolutely as necessary as any other job, perhaps even more so.
What if the system were set up in a way that DIS-incentivized people from taking the “dirty jobs” out there? What if the government actually paid people to stay home rather than work for an honest living? Might those hiring managers find it difficult to find workers?
The unemployment rate in our area is currently below 5%, a rate that would be considered historically low if it weren’t for the fact that the rate doesn’t include people who, for whatever reason, have stopped looking for work. It doesn’t include the folks on “disability” because they have “anxiety” or some other made-up malady (have they made “laziness” a “disability” yet?). In fact, the rate is so deceptive that Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup, calls it a “big lie.” And yet, judging by how difficult it is to recruit for the entry-level jobs out there these days, SOMETHING other than work is keeping these folks fat and happy.
Alexis de Tocqueville could not have made a more accurate prediction when he wrote, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
That’s exactly what liberals have done!
Make human capital cheap
The other end of the human capital coin is the fact that, since a significant percentage of our “natives” are sitting on the couch or aimlessly wandering our streets doped up on government largesse, and since those dirty jobs, well, kinda sorta need to be done (you know, since Americans won’t do them), our government is importing and encouraging unskilled immigrants from the Third World like any one of them could be carrying the cure for cancer instead of the measles or a backpack full of cocaine.
This isn’t to malign every immigrant, because certainly many work hard and contribute to America, but the end results of limitless Third World immigration are, predictably, an uptick in crime, drug use, disease, and welfare payments. In fact, the only thing that actually decreases in this scenario is average wage rates. Sure, some dirty jobs get done in certain areas, but at what cost?
Bankrupt the government
What, you mean it actually costs something to support all those people living off the government? Tell me it ain’t so! Yep, as a result of generations of this and other ridiculous expenditures, our staggering national debt has become virtually unpayable. It’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
Enlarge and empower the government
We’ve got to spend all that negative money on something, right? How about more government programs and agencies? How about more prisons and enforcement of the gazillion laws we’ve created that virtually make felons of everyone? How about sending troops all around the world to protect Iraq and Afghanistan’s border instead of ours? How about any number of things that have inflated our government to an unsustainable and potentially tyrannical size?
Interfere with the free market as much as possible
If anything can stifle the free flow of ideas and ingenuity more effectively than the government, I’d like to see it. By the endless taxes and regulations that interfere with the free market, governments, from Federal all the way down to City, have managed to hold America back in ways that can’t possibly be tabulated.
Make America compete with the world on an unequal playing field
This view may differ with some conservatives and libertarians reading this, but it’s worth consideration. Trade between nations is indeed a great thing, but there is a HUGE difference between free trade and fair trade. Sadly, all too many business have had to deal with the difficult choice of whether to keep production facilities in America and deal with the countless regulations, employment laws & minimum wages, and lack of skilled labor (you know, because the government is paying everyone to stay at home) or (wink wink) they can shift their production south of the border, open a sweatshop, and pay Guatemalans lined up and begging to work for fifty cents an hour.
I mean, it’s almost like the government doesn’t WANT good manufacturing jobs in this country anymore.
Given the evidence, it’s almost like they want to destroy this country altogether.
This post originally appeared on Staffing Talk