Now with extra-sad Add On.
Paul Krugman has a long article in the New York Times weekend magazine in which he makes the following observation:
[Economist Milton] Friedman certainly never bought into the idea that mass unemployment represents a voluntary reduction in work effort or the idea that recessions are actually good for the economy. Yet the current generation of freshwater economists has been making both arguments. Thus Chicago’s Casey Mulligan suggests that unemployment is so high because many workers are choosing not to take jobs: “Employees face financial incentives that encourage them not to work . . . decreased employment is explained more by reductions in the supply of labor (the willingness of people to work) and less by the demand for labor (the number of workers that employers need to hire).”
Mulligan has suggested, in particular, that workers are choosing to remain unemployed because that improves their odds of receiving mortgage relief. And Cochrane declares that high unemployment is actually good: “We should have a recession. People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do.” ...
I was pleased to find out that the phone calls complaining about no work and losing houses and bills not getting paid are all just voluntary time outs from the old 9 to 5 grind. For a minute there, I thought we were in deep manure.
Then I read this, also from the New York Times:
Rick Alexander, a master carpenter in Florida who has given up searching [for jobs] after months of effort, said the disappointment eventually became unbearable.
“When you were in high school and kept asking the head cheerleader out for a date and she kept saying no, at some point you stopped asking her,” he said. “It becomes a ‘why bother?’ scenario.”
Rick Alexander is truly an uneducated man. Now, if he had only taken a few of Dr. Mulligan's graduate seminars, maybe he would be thinking more clearly.
Add On: And it doesn't look like all the long vacations will change anytime soon.
A net -3% of employers said they'll hire in the fourth quarter, down from -2% in the third quarter, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Milwaukee-based firm's survey of more than 28,000 employers. Before this year, the survey's previous low point was a net 1% hiring outlook for the third quarter of 1982 ...