Once upon a time a Light Rail (LR) system was installed in a city. After billions of dollars, it was finally opened and declared a success. Ridership was at all time highs and it would reduce emissions to offset a significant number of cow farts. We all win.
This is yet another example of why we are doomed, people believe this crap.
After closer examination, ridership is up because the people who used to take the bus, no longer have that option. The same people running LR were also managing the bus routes. Cool, huh! It is Light Rail or a longer commute due to traffic congestion. Did I mention LR costs more than the bus? It does. If you mention these facts, even prior to the current environment, you were opposed to mass transit and clueless as to the detrimental effects of the internal combustion engine. In short, you were evil, or worse, stupid and evil.
I am not opposed to mass transit, but in most places, it is not sound economic policy. We simply don’t have the density to justify the cost. From a policy perspective, it is a worthy discussion as costs come down and as a planning function (byways, easements, rights of way, etc.), but building light rail infrastructure remains inefficient.
The reason I bring it up now is the “labor shortage” that some businesses are experiencing. The restaurant industry is one that is struggling to hire people. Even in my metropolis, small businesses are unable to operate. Yes, one business closed a location several times due to a lack of employees – or at least that is what the sign indicated.
Unemployment is at record lows – at least in my city. But wait, is it? Well, it might be. It is unclear. The unemployment calculation is convoluted and has changed over the years. If you are not working, it may classify someone as unemployed, or not. It depends. On stuff. I can assure you it is not less convoluted than the last time I checked. I do know this. A whole bunch of folks are sitting at home collecting money for doing diddly. When you do the math, I can’t fault them for this decision, but I can fault the policy.
Policy is not made in a vacuum; it is made by people. Many of these people have an agenda. Some politicians are suggesting a raise in the minimum wage. What better way to justify a minimum wage increase than to show a labor shortage? If those mean businesses would just pay them more, employees would arrive in droves. It is due to the mean capitalist business oligarchs, otherwise known as small business owners, who won’t share its billions with the lowly hourly wage employees. It appears there is a perception that every small business owner has the wealth of Gates or Bezos. They don’t. It is delusional. A living wage, an important policy discussion, is a discussion for a different day.
Here is an idea, stop paying unemployment. Make them work, call it diddly work. It’ll be fun. I’ll make up a job description and everything. You can come and do diddly work or you can go get a job working for someone where you will learn cooperation, respect, and maybe learn a skill or two. If you work hard and learn the business, perhaps you can start your own small business and earn entrance into the land of evil tyrants, or as most folks call them, small business owners. It won’t happen without people willing to change policy. Yet another reason why policy is important.