The Value of Work: The Mitt Romney Edition

Republican senator Mitt Romney has thoughts about survival checks (boldface mine):

Extending federal supplemental unemployment benefits beyond March 14 is a good idea that merits bipartisan support. But the Biden stimulus calls for checks of $400 a week in addition to state checks through September. At that level, the majority of the unemployed would make more by not working. Employers already complain that they can’t find employees.

It’s tempting to snark about how “he’s so close”, but there is a serious point here. While the increase in prices (note I didn’t say costs) due to higher effective ‘wages’ is vastly overstated, for example, by higher minimum wage opponents, but it’s not zero either.

What we have in the U.S. is a system where the tenth through fiftieth percentiles of income (give or take) do have a higher quality of life, at least as reflected by prices, at the significant expense of the bottom thirty percent. Like I said, prices wouldn’t be affected that much, but some of those in top tenth make their money through the infliction of low wages, so a fair number do benefit from low wages directly–it’s their business model. They either have to accept lower personal incomes, or passing on higher wages.

Of course, what makes Romney’s argument all the more ridiculous is that, for the next few months, we still want to pay people to not work because of the pandemic.

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3 Responses to The Value of Work: The Mitt Romney Edition

  1. The notion that everyone should work was shredded and scattered by the steam engine. We have spent 250 years pretending otherwise, and knowing that we were pretending. Seriously, all of politics and all of economics is wrapped up in the preceding sentence.

  2. jrs says:

    Romney will pay people to breed but not otherwise. Romney says: go forth and have 6 kids on a finite planet, we’ll pay you for it, but no wage increase for you and no increased unemployment benefits. We really need to get religion out of government.

  3. ronzie says:

    If Mitt Romney ever did a minute’s worth of productive work in his entire life I’ve never seen any evidence of it. The things he did at Bain Capital bear a remarkable similarity to mob “bust-outs”.

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