The Democrats' 'War on Work'

obamaville_11-21-11

The Republicans are supposed to have a "War on Women" that's about as real as the Loch Ness monster, but the Democrats are developing a war that is considerably more authentic and quite a bit more sinister -- a "War on Work."  From Reuters:

Democrats sought to turn the latest controversy over Obamacare and the economy into a positive political message on Sunday by casting an expected decline in American work hours as a boon to worker freedom and family values.

In a new partisan tussle over election messaging that is likely to color this year's congressional mid-term campaign, Democratic lawmakers said a predicted drop in work hours brought about by Obamacare would mean more family time for mothers, more study opportunities for college students and less job stress for older workers.

"The single mom, who's raising three kids (and) has to keep a job because of healthcare, can now spend some time raising those kids. That's a family value," Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said on NBC's Sunday program, "Meet the Press."

He was responding to a fiscal report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Tuesday that said President Barack Obama's healthcare law would bring about a drop in work hours equal to the loss of 2.5 million full-time workers over the next decade.

Schumer's blather is obviously meant to distract from the CBO's report, rather than "respond" to it, as the Reuters loyalists would have it, but never mind.  Something more disturbing, indeed quite literally depressing, is at play here.  If we are moving toward a society in which people perforce work less, whether to get discount healthcare or any healthcare or some other governmentally imposed reason, we are moving toward a depressed society, a nation of the sad.

You don't have to be a Freudian to see the truth in the father of psychoanalysis' oft-quoted pronouncement that "love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness," really the keys to our daily sanity.  If you undermine our ability to work, to be gainfully and fully employed,  you undermine our self-respect, virtually no matter what our occupation. When our ability to contribute to society and to the welfare of our families is curtailed, we become depressed, sometimes unable to function or even be creative with that vaunted free time. The vast majority of us anyway.  People on the dole are almost always a depressed lot, sometimes terminally.

So something deeply cynical resides at the heart of this new "liberal" free time favor they are bestowing on the citizens of our country.  Maybe it isn't birth control pills that should be distributed gratis via Obamacare, but Oxycontin.

And America is already a depressed country, according to a study by researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, although not as depressed as France.  The French are well known world beaters in that regard.  And we all know the French work less and brag incessantly about their lengthy vacations.  Interestingly, the least depressed nation in the study is China where we also all know they work like beavers, sometimes to extraordinary hours. Go figure.

As with many things, I don't think these liberals believe what they are saying.   They have to have a "War on Work," because if work were good for you, they'd have to explain why the labor participation rate is at or near all-time lows.  Ninety plus million have given up even trying to find employment or, if my guess is correct, are working part time under the table and not reporting their income to the IRS,  who are too busy harassing conservatives to notice anyway.

We are moving toward an era like the old Soviet Union where the joke went: "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."  All power to the black market.

Well, it's not that bad yet,  But we are coming to a crunch point where the American people are going to have to make a decision between the welfare state -- and its attendant depression -- and self-reliance -- and its attendant self-respect.

Speaking of which, it's a good moment to mention Fred Siegel's just published The Revolt Against the Masses, which I read some time ago in manuscript.  It is a rewrite of the history of modern American liberalism, that shows, according to its jacket copy and as he explained to PJM's Ed Driscoll during his recent interview, "that what we think of a liberalism -- the top-and-bottom collation we associate with President Obama -- began not with Progressivism of the New Deal but rather in the wake of WWI, in disillusionment with American society."

Disillusionment?  Depression?  They're handmaidens, aren't they?