An analysis by the former chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers finds that given today’s sluggish job growth, it will take over a decade for employment to return to pre-recession levels.
Edward P. Lazear, now a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, says the nation’s moribund economic growth only partly explains the static employment rate; America’s new welfare culture is also a key driver.
Under President Barack Obama, the number of people on disability has shot up 13%, and food stamp enrollments have skyrocketed 39%. Lazear cites research by University of Chicago professor Casey Mulligan that finds that individuals forgo job searches in order to hang out to taxpayer-funded welfare benefits.
“These disincentives to seek work may also help explain the unusually high proportion of the unemployed who have been out of work for more than 26 weeks,” writes Lazear in the Wall Street Journal.
America’s two largest disability programs, including health care for disabled workers, costs taxpayers $260 billion a year. Food stamp spending this year is projected to be $82 billion.
Today, nearly 90 million Americans are no longer in the labor force.