Turn on, tune in, drop out
Not long ago, I began to wonder about the part-time work phenomenon in general, but the non-economic part of the equation, specifically. In 2006, the average month saw 2.2 million people forced into part-time work because of the economy, while 19.6 million chose to work part-time for other reasons. Fast forward; 7.2 million Americans are working part-time for economic reasons, and after declining those working less than full-time for non-economic reasons, is back to 19.2 million. This is part of a long-term trend sure to continue, now that the new healthcare law has made it so enticing to 'turn on, tune in, and drop out.'
The long-term trend (see chart) is clear that while many complain about limited options and onerous work demands on Americans, more and more choose to work part-time for reasons that have nothing to do with the economy. In fact, that segment of the work force has expanded 375% since the mid-1950s, while overall labor force is up 156%.The ability to collect more and more government benefits over the years has been a major underpinning of this trend. For many that have accepted this Faustian deal, the fact is life isn't any better when you become a ward of the state, and you accept a place in society devoid of pride.
"We need a better work-life balance. Ask a working mother if she could use a few more hours in a day to take care of her family." -Congressman Keith Ellison
Democrats went all out over the weekend portraying the 2.5 million people that will flee full-time work as a good thing, assuming many would be women, particularly single mothers (Chuck Schumer brought up the same single mother with three children used in the minimum-wage debate, making me wonder if that's off the table now?) When Congressman Ellison (D-MN) said, a mother could use a few more hours in a day to take care of her family, it made me wonder if these guys think women have no dreams of owning businesses, being successful, or having career-oriented fulfillment goals; beyond household chores.
But it was this old chestnut, the underpinning of the socialist movement in America; if the Europeans are doing it; it has to be the right thing.
"If you look at international comparisons country by country, Americans work way more that the average of industrialized countries around the world." -Congressman Keith Ellison