Is Having a Job the Best Life?

With the GOP Healthcare fiasco wrapping up, I have been thinking about the outlook of this country and how this will affect the future of this country. Here are some facts with the relevant government data:

  1. Since October 2013, Medicaid has added 16.7 million new members
  2. Since October 2013, the US economy has added 9.3 million jobs
  3. To qualify for Medicaid, you need to be under the age of 65 and earn less than 133% of the Federal Poverty Line, which is $12,060 for individuals, which means you need to make less than $16,040, which for a full time (assuming 40 hours/week) is ~$8.00/hour.
  4. Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour, and many states have higher floors. For example, California is $10.50/hour.

To me, this means that nearly twice as many people have opted to not work and get Medicaid (in addition to whatever welfare is available) than are willing to work even a minimum wage job and have a quality of life, economic mobility and have some dignity in the fruits of their labor. Everybody should be proud of something - if not work, then what else?

What sort of a picture do these stats give about our country or economy here in the US? Are there any additional statistics that should be considered that I have overlooked?

Curious to know what WSO thinks this means.

Comments (30)

Best Response
Jul 19, 2017

Is being a mooching, lazy, schlep the best way to live life?

Really that's up to you.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jul 19, 2017

I am saying that it appears that when left with "its up to you" that more people would say yes than no, based on the figures above.

My question is more about whether or not that is ok and what the ramifications will be down the road. What happens next? Is our economy F'd if we continue down this path?

Jul 19, 2017

Healthcare is a small portion of the issue. There are also programs that provide food and housing. So for someone who is confortable living in those conditions there is zero incentive to pursue better employment. Frankly, I think everyone is better off working. Those that have the ability to and don't are literally taking from those that truly need help.

Jul 20, 2017

It is still something to be looked deep into and to know the actual fact of the present state of economy.

Jul 20, 2017

fuck no

heister:

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Jul 20, 2017

I'm not sure the people on medicaid do it because they want to.....

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Jul 20, 2017

So what do they want? It seems like they also do not want a job. I do not want to make overly broad generalizations, but it seems to me that something is up when having literally any job would make you ineligible for Medicaid and more than twice as many people have been enrolled as have new jobs been created in the country.

Jul 22, 2017

Medicaid includes children and the disabled. Children make up the majority.

Not sure if that was accounted for in the data in the OP

Jul 20, 2017

a lot do. most

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

Jul 20, 2017

Man, this is some shoddy analysis. 4.5% unemployment represents a little over 7mm americans who want a job but cant get one, per the may report. But If you look at those who want full time work but can't find it and are employed full time, the number jobs up to 14.4m. And the average hours worked per week is at 34 hours, which is below full time. Lastly, a large plurality of jobs added have been temp or part time.

Point being, you can't possibly get to the conclusion you got too if you look at the data. I'm sure there are some (And I know a few from my Midwestern state) who try to game the system, but acting like it's a systemic problem that millions of people are choosing to barely work and sign up for Medicaid instead, is not supported by evidence.

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Jul 21, 2017

Do you think there is a correlation between the success in "gig economy" apps like Uber more recently and the labor force slack trends you pointed to above?

Jul 22, 2017
George_Banker:

Do you think there is a correlation between the success in "gig economy" apps like Uber more recently and the labor force slack trends you pointed to above?

It's hard to tell. The availability of part time work has increased, at least in terms of being able to side hustle or make some extra cash. And it's very possible the preponderance of part time work is making it harder to find full time work as companies realize they can fulfill so many roles with a greater number of employees (or outsource it to lower cost firms) without having to provide benefits to any of them. Those jobs also tend to be less wage sensitive. I think there is likely some correlation.

But, I can't say I'm an expert on labor economics so it's a bit of an educated guess.

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Jul 21, 2017

"14.4 million Americans wanting to work is not evidence of millions of Americans not working"

Moron.

Jul 22, 2017
realjackryan:

"14.4 million Americans wanting to work is not evidence of millions of Americans not working"

Moron.

If you're replying to me, it seems you are having some reading comprehension problems. I encourage you to take another stab at reading through this thread.

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Jul 21, 2017

No, the best life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

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Jul 21, 2017

Anyone who thinks you can just "get a job," even a minimum wage job, is delusional. High schoolers can't even get part-time minimum wage summer jobs. The competition, even for shit jobs, is insane. If I'm going to end up making barely above the threshold to qualify for a ton of hand outs from the government, I'll be dammed if I'm going to spend weeks applying to hundreds of jobs, going on interviews (which requires gas and a car or public transportation), and dealing with fat, rude customers who "want to speak to my manager" because their coupon for bologna expired two months ago.

Are there lazy, parasitic freeloaders on welfare? Of course. But telling them to "just get a job" is laughable.

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Jul 21, 2017

According to the BLS, there are currently ~5.7 million job openings. You are the delusional one, sir.

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Jul 21, 2017

Even if you were just handed the job at mcdonald's, would you willing subject yourself to 40 hours a week at that job just to make the same or less than you would accepting government handouts? the incentive just isn't there

Jul 21, 2017
dsch:

Anyone who thinks you can just "get a job," even a minimum wage job, is delusional. High schoolers can't even get part-time minimum wage summer jobs. The competition, even for shit jobs, is insane. If I'm going to end up making barely above the threshold to qualify for a ton of hand outs from the government, I'll be dammed if I'm going to spend weeks applying to hundreds of jobs, going on interviews (which requires gas and a car or public transportation), and dealing with fat, rude customers who "want to speak to my manager" because their coupon for bologna expired two months ago.

Are there lazy, parasitic freeloaders on welfare? Of course. But telling them to "just get a job" is laughable.

Unemployment in my city is currently 2.6%. There are unfilled job openings all over the place so I wouldn't say competition for jobs is insane.

EDIT: Unemployment has actually dropped to 2.3%...crazy

Jul 21, 2017

I'm a little confused by your post. You seem to have 2 points that contradict each other:
1. It's really hard to get a job, even the low paying jobs
2. People dont want to put in the work to get a low paying job and even if they did those jobs aren't worth the headaches

I agree that the "just get a job" is not the solution. However, I also see employers BEGGING for help in my area (suburbs of Chicago). I promise you that if I was 20 with just some normal work experience (retail or labor) I could have multiple job offers for $40k+ per year within a month. It might not be the career that you or I desire, but certainly a job that helps feed a family.

I happen to work for an industrial conglomerate. I can't tell you how many times I've heard from our different locations that it's difficult to find labor or entry-level positions.

There are jobs available. Not everyone is able to get these jobs for various reasons, but there is certainly a subset of the population that could obtain a career if they desired.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

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Jul 21, 2017

Finding an entry level job is easy as fuck. I had like 6 just while in high school. My little brother just got one after sending 3 apps. The fuck are you talking about...

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

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Jul 21, 2017

I don't really see healthcare as a type of 'welfare'. People need to be reasonably healthy to work. If the only way for a working person to receive somewhat decent healthcare is to stop working so that they can be below the income threshold to receive medicaid, the government has fucked up somewhere.

Jul 21, 2017

As Milton Friedman always said -- there eventually comes a certain point when the government can offer so many social nets that some folks are incentivized to not work at all.

Pretty sad, but this demographic doesn't represent the majority of Americans and welfare programs hardly impact an overall tax bill, most tax deductions go towards maintaining social security (needs serious reform) and the military budget (tons of waste and corruption... look at the F-35.)

Jul 21, 2017

I'm hoping those people are either broken, too old, or don't speak English. Or perhaps have some sort of developmental disorder.

Otherwise, I have no sympathy for any able-bodied American citizen who is not able to unfuck themselves within 6 months to a year. Take away their passports (lol) and dump them in Mexico.

Jul 21, 2017

Did it ever appear to you that low wage workers don't and often can't get work for 40 hours a week?

Jul 21, 2017

Working at a job, whether you love it or not, keeps things in perspective. So, I believe that having a job can contribute to the best life.

Jul 22, 2017

things to consider:

In addition to the poor, Medicaid covers children and the disabled. Children make up the majority.

Per the ACA, businesses with over ~40 employees have to offer full timers health coverage. Thus, minimum wage jobs usually do not allow employees to work over 30 hours per week so they don't have to offer health insurance.

Your data references a time period when States Were incentivized through federal subsidy to expand Medicaid. This also would scew the data.

Jul 22, 2017
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Jul 22, 2017