It reminded me I really want to revisit the pressing need in our state, and all across the country, to prioritize improving the labor market.
The other day I caught a tweet via Bryan Long
Young adults don't work because there are too many gvmt entitlements. http://t.co/GykDRaYzvQ Good logic Karen Handel. #gapolBasically, Karen Handel, a Republican running for Senate here in Georgia thinks Government assistance is the reason people aren't working.
— bryanlong (@bryanlong) July 1, 2013
I was slightly amused because it exposed two things about Handel 1)she doesn't really have a clue whats happening on the ground across the country and 2) either she doesn't understand how the labor-leisure curves in microeconomics 101 works, or she does and it proves she is just doing the bidding of business owners.
Handle recommends we use Government coercion--which ends up immiserating not only the "lazy people" she claims just don't want to work but harms those already working 40, 50...60 hours at 2 and 3 jobs by lowering their wages and making their life harder as well.
So rather than allow market forces to do what they do best Handel thinks Stalin was on to something and we just immiesrate everyone to force a few bad apples off the Government benefits. Its pretty appalling once you dig past the "I'm not politically correct" conservative-cool kid facade.
I quickly blasted off blog post (Karen Handle for Senate Platform: Erode Wages and Destroy Jobs) while my wife was napping to break this down at length.
But I think its important to follow up on this post because it exposes a fundamental fault line within Republican policymakers more broadly. I look around and I don't think I see a single Republican in Georgia who is fighting to improve the labor market in this state.**
They are perfectly happy watching hard working citizens fall further and further behind as long as profits are being made for the dwindling number of businesses able to stay afloat. They shrug their shoulders and say the outcomes come from individual entrepreneurship and hard work--yet a stronger labor market would create more profits for entrepreneurs. A stronger labor market would reduce unemployment and create more space for new entrepreneurs to join in the mix. A win-win for all of us.
Our priority, when we see skyrocketing usage of food stamps or large numbers of long term unemployed workers shouldn't be to find ways to reduce the ability to acquire the safety-net but to improve the labor market--driving wages and benefits up for all workers.
Basically Karen Handle wants to destroy your safetynet and put downward pressure on your wages and benefits in order to punish lazy people.
Karen Handle wants to let the current winners in our economy keep on winning and throw hard working citizens under the bus--all in order to "show those lazy bums" whose boss. Its not inspiring leadership. Its not an agenda that will bring prosperity to our state or nation. And its not a pretty picture when I look around and don't see a single Republican voice in this state looking to improve the labor market.
I don't think Karen Handle is alone. I'd argue the entire Georgia GOP has taken this platform position.
We should expect to see the: Erode Wages/Destroy Jobs campaign platform from Republicans up and down the ballot in 2014. Not only in Georgia but all across the nation.
[**Actually, as a point of clarification most Republicans I know at least say they want to improve the labor market, but I'm speaking of elected officials, TV entertainers, and policymakers who make up the "Republican agenda" and churn out the talking points. I just think most Republicans I know don't connect the dots on the economic policy and realize their leadership are putting the interests of a small slice of rent seeking business owners--the "donor class"--ahead of whats best for all of us.]
**** For more on the Labor/Leisure curve I'm talking about check out this short and sweet video for the basic principles. I argue that Handle is pointing to the substitution effect dominating the income effect (at some utility curve below the U1 in this video) and that we need to shift wages upwards so that the income effect can mobilize people into the job market--using the price system not Government force.