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The Great Reassessment

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The assertion that maintaining expanded UI was causing significant numbers of people not to return to work has been thoroughly debunked. What is in fact happening is that people aren’t going back to bad and in some cases unsafe jobs that pay badly:

The coronavirus continues to be a major factor in people’s hesitancy to return to work, but there is something deeper going on in 2021. Workers, especially low-wage workers, are revolting against years of poor pay and stressful conditions. It remains unclear how the Great Reassessment of work will play out going forward. For now, people are still hesitant to take the first jobs available to them, if they don’t believe they’re good jobs. And they are not reluctant to quit a situation they don’t like.

“The big news out of the jobs report was the delta variant slowed things down. That disproportionately hit lower-wage workers,” said University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson. “But people are also thinking they can afford to wait for a better job — or a safe job — to come along.”

The obvious flaw in DeSantisism is that while you can refuse safety measures and prevent local governments and businesses from implementing them, you can’t force people to do things they consider unacceptably unsafe. The governments that sacrifice public health in the name of the economy get neither. And equally nonsensical is the self-serving conservative assumption that workers are incredibly sensitive to pay incentives at the very top of the market but at the bottom people will work for anything as long as the government stays out of the way.

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