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The Game of Musical Chairs That Is The US Labor Market


Jul 19, 2011
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This morning the featured headline on the Drudge Report was "Thousands Line Up For Jobs" linking to an article from ABC News about a job fair in Atlanta, Georgia. Amidst the crowds of anxious jobseekers, people were getting heat exhaustion as they were waiting to get into the two-day fair. The great number of those seeking a job is a testament to the dire state of the US labor market.

I think it is time that we start considering the possibility that there is not going to be a quick and easy solution to the labor market malaise in the US right now. Some say that cutting taxes will create job growth, but perhaps this option is suspect. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) received $1.9 billion in tax refunds from the IRS last year, and now it has announced that it will be cutting thousands of jobs.

Others suggest that the US government needs to take a more active role in hiring even to the point of paying people to dig holes and then paying them to fill the holes up in a Keynesian manner. But with a growing lack of consumer confidence and declining approval in the US government, one has to wonder if government is really the solution to our labor market malaise.

It's becoming unclear as to whether there are any possible functional solutions to our current unemployment quagmire. As underemployment has risen over the past several years, some are left wondering what the actual unemployment and underemployment numbers are given those who have simply abandoned their job search. Where the actual unemployment rate has not increased drastically, new images of thousands camping outside of a job fair speak in waves. One thing is for sure, and that is that the system is broken.

Many struggling Americans are now finding themselves in a bizarre economic game of musical chairs in this depressing labor market. Where one's getting a job means your not getting a job and not able to put food on the table, this vicious cycle can lead to estrangement, alienation, and resentment for many citizens. I have already explored at length some issues of the American job search and the effects that American culture is having on our current unemployment problems.

I believe that at some point the bureaucratic runaround and paper-pushing that has become common in the American marketplace is going to have to come to an end. That end will come once the struggle for survival supplants and takes precedence over the struggle to find a job.

One response to this American game of musical chairs is that people are going to have to take a greater role in pretty much creating their own jobs. But substantial overhead costs, government regulations, and startup legal costs appear to be deterring the growth of small businesses. Even the lemonade stands of children and yard sales are being affected by these absurd bureaucratic regulations and processes.

Perhaps if we can get the bureaucracy and the government to take a step back and not be so involved with business and the markets, individuals can create small businesses and small businesses can create jobs quickly.

The simple fact of the matter is that if the government bureaucracy does not take a step back and let the free market do its thing, at some point people will proceed anyhow in the spirit of survival. This could possibly mean more violations of government & tax regulations, unlawfulness, and growth in the underground economy. Of course, unlawfulness has always been present in society, but with growing unemployment and social unrest it's becoming that much harder for police & courts to enforce the laws on the books. As enforcement of the law becomes impracticable, the free market will effectively force American society to change its ways of doing business and protecting property rights. Taking into account the gross injustices and nonsensical bureaucratic practices that American society has grown to accept over the past several decades, perhaps this is something we should look forward to. America's society and culture are changing.

I do not believe that looking for a job should be a game of musical chairs. And to be frank, a society that makes their job search into a game of musical chairs is not the type of society in which I would want to have a family and raise children. I am not saying that people have a "right to a job", but rather that people have the right to pursue meaningful employment within the bounds of the proper role of government, which amounts to ensuring public safety, national defense, and maintaining the validity of contracts.

If society begins to break down owing to crime, decreasing tax revenue, budget cuts for police, rising costs, and rampant unemployment, then most likely the federal and state governments are not going to have two wooden nickels to rub together to sustain the excessive bureaucracy anyhow.

Better it is then that government works to trim the red tape and paper-pushing now to ensure at the very least that police and the courts can do their job to maintain functional order and government in line with the US Constitution.

Given the strength of the free market, if there are no apparent jobs, individuals should have the opportunity to demonstrate their value and in effect create their own jobs. With the way things are now, it appears as if individuals are at the mercies of American corporatism, and the current system is not working. Ours is a marketplace and a country made up of individuals, not corporations.

It is said that time heals all wounds, and with that in mind, we can in confidence profess that "this too shall pass". I believe that in time the real solutions to this US labor market malaise will manifest themselves not because of instituted government policies or groundbreaking financial/institutional innovations, but because the market will have forced individuals and governments to take actions that effectively solve and bring resolution to the problems. This means reducing the excessive red tape and bureaucracy, bringing government back within its proper role, and allowing individuals to live in liberty according to the US Constitution. With that, people can get back to work and productivity can return.

At some point, the game of musical chairs has to come to an end.



Traders who believe that higher unemployment will give way to crime and societal upheaval might want to consider the following trades:

Buying gold and silver in coins or ETFs.

For those who think that firearm sales will increase, perhaps look into going long on Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: SWHC [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]) and Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE: RGR).


Traders who believe that government will retain a bureaucratic grip on job creation thereby slowing growth may consider an alternate positions:

Short the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSE: DIA).

Source: Benzinga

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