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Fun on Friday: Nice “Work” If You Can Get It

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Unemployment is at 6%. Tens of thousands of people apply for unemployment every week (744,000 last week alone). The US government is spending trillions of dollars to “stimulate” the economy. But restaurants in northeast Florida can’t find enough workers to open every day.

Does this sound a nutty to you as it does to me?

And yet, this is absolutely true! There’s a worker shortage here on Florida’s First Coast.

I live close to Amelia Island. The good news is that tourist season has arrived and the tourists have returned in droves. (Unfortunately, tourist season doesn’t mean it’s OK to shoot them.) I can tell you this based on the traffic. The bad news is if you plan on vacationing on Amelia Island, you might want to bring a cooler of food. Or make sure you rent a place with a kitchen. Because restaurants in the area are reporting long waits and some of them aren’t even opening every day.

The problem is they are woefully understaffed. In all seriousness, according to a report in the News-Leader this week, some restaurants are closing a couple of days a week because they don’t have the staff to operate during their normal hours.

Here’s what’s interesting; this isn’t a new phenomenon. My wife and I went to our favorite restaurant on Amelia Island for my birthday back in January. We got to chatting with the owner and she said she was having a hard time staffing then. And this was back when we still had capacity restrictions in Florida.

So why — with high unemployment and an economy still struggling to recover — can’t restaurants find workers? Well, the aforementioned owner knows exactly why. She said she can’t compete with the federal government. It’s more lucrative for people to sit at home and collect their “enhanced” unemployment than it is to go back to work. It’s easier on the feet too. Think about it. If your choice is between sitting at home, playing X-Box and collecting a big check, or working your butt off waiting tables for a similar check, what are you going to do?

I have to admit — I’m going with the couch and the X-Box. And I don’t even play video games.

You know, it’s almost as if incentives matter.

When economists and conservatives talk about unemployment disincentivizing work, the left goes nuts and calls them big fat meanie-heads. But these folks aren’t just spouting rhetoric because they hate poor people. This is real life. This is economics in action.

And my story isn’t just anecdotal. I talked about this on today’s Friday Gold Wrap podcast and a listener sent me an email to tell me the same thing is happening in Texas.

According to the emailer, the famous Bill Miller BBQ chain with 70 locations in central Texas just recently began reopening its dining areas. In an interview with the owner, he said that the main reason they had not begun opening sooner was their inability to hire staff, and they are still trying to hire today as they open 30 of the 70 locations.

Once again, sitting on the couch in sweatpants collecting a check trumps going to work.

Every. Single. Time.

I’m just shocked by this. I mean, who knew that economics was a thing?

You have to wonder how all of this is going to play out when the enhanced unemployment comes to an end. Or maybe it would be smarter to wonder if it will ever end at all. Because I’m pretty sure Biden and the Dems will keep this racket running as long as they can. They’ll tell us we just can’t cut benefits with so many people unemployed. Never mind the fact that they’re unemployed because you’re paying them not to work.

Nice “work” if you can get it.

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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