Your Monday Morning Dose of Doom & Gloom

Mark Steyn:

At the low end, about 40 percent of Americans now do minimal-skilled service jobs — the ones that, in the wake of Obamacare, are becoming neither full-time nor part-time but kinda-sorta two-thirds-time in order not to impose health-insurance obligations on the employer. In the middle, a similar number of Americans are diverted into those paper-shuffling jobs that do provide health benefits — say, in the “human resources” department of the bureaucracy; the kind of job in which you pass the time calling someone in Idaho to say you need them to fill in a W-9 before you can send them a 1099, or vice versa. And, at the top end, privileged Americans spend six-figure sums acquiring college degrees that admit them to an homogenized elite that tells itself Obamacare makes perfect sense for everyone except them. The U.S. economy can never recover until more of its real “human resources” are engaged in genuine wealth creation.[Emphasis added. For emphasis.]

I used to marvel at the productivity of the American worker. Not the HR papershuffler, not the lawyer, not the clerk, not the salesman, and certainly not the government worker. I mean the productivity of Americans engaged in the production of actual wealth — whether they make, grow, engineer, or mine it. Because everybody else, each and every one of us, relies on their powers of wealth creation in order to find our work as HR papershufflers, laywers, clerks, salesmen, and lawyers. Then on top of all of them are the children, the elderly, and the welfare recipients.

In my lifetime they have been a small sliver of our population pie — and shrinking. We keep making it more difficult or expensive or just goddamn plain illegal to do the things which create real wealth. And then we keep adding more layers of lawyers and papershufflers on top.

We haven’t so much reached a point where Atlas is shrugged, as we have reached the point where the camel can’t take even just one more piece of straw on its back.

So what did we do, when our economy was creaking and ready to crack? We saddled it with ObamaCare. And then we hit our finance industry with Dodd-Frank. That’s two really big straws.

The Fed has kept the printing presses rolling — the equivalent of giving the camel a couple Red Bulls as it sweats and groans under the strain. And President Obama has been breaking his own signature law left and right — the equivalent of temporarily removing a few straws.

But at some point we have to get this country back into the business of producing real wealth, or eventually — probably sooner than most people think — there won’t even be any papers to shuffle.