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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10679/want-to-shrink-the-economy-limit-the-labor-force/

Want to Shrink the Economy? Limit the Labor Force

September 18, 2009 by

To help workers get new jobs, Thom Hartmann recommends forcibly limiting individuals’ entry into the market, and killing off future productivity — new wealth and new jobs, etc. He thinks we can create jobs by killing off jobs. This sounds quite similar to FDR’s attempt to stimulate the economy by destroying food supplies in the 1930s. FULL ARTICLE by Zach Bibeault.


Mike C. September 18, 2009 at 8:20 am

“Were he to have someone of real economic wisdom on the program, this would change. Perhaps this is why such individuals are never on: keeping the illusion of Hartmann’s economic wisdom alive props up his salary rate and prevents it from liquidating.”

A very cute and accurate observation and one that would send desperate chills down the spines of most in the intellectually challenged mainstream media today… were they even capable of comprehending it, I am sure their response would only be to form their collective wagons into an even more desperate and protective circle of denial.

Enjoy Every Sandwich September 18, 2009 at 8:39 am

It’s hard to keep myself from wondering if perhaps Hartmann isn’t trying to hasten the inevitable collapse of Social Security. If he isn’t he might want to give some thought to what his scheme will do to this program (beloved of statists everywhere).

Michael Orlowski September 18, 2009 at 9:18 am

It’s rather funny how he contradicts himself.

Nate September 18, 2009 at 10:15 am

“Lowering the retirement age to 55] would eliminate the problem of unemployment in the United States. All those Boomers retiring would make room in the labor market for all the recent high-school and college graduates who are now finding it so hard to find a job.”

I wonder if he would support the U.S. starting WW3, since it would require to government to draft millions of young men and women into the armed services.

Tina Brewer September 18, 2009 at 11:31 am

It seems like there would be a lot of “unseen” effects as well around the fact that with 10 fewer years of work during which to save for retirement, people’s consumption and savings habits would dramatically shift. This is not to mention the appalling psychological damage which might result from people spending an additional TEN YEARS of healthy life in a materially non-contributive role. It freaks me out there are even people suggesting such stuff.

patrick September 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Thom Hartmann is an idiot.

Anthony September 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Can someone explain why Yaron Brook is described as a “weak supporter” of the free market? In my opinion he has been one of the strongest. He defends Capitalism philosophically, ethically, morally, and as the most benificial system to the world.

This is a legit question and I am very willing to change my opinion as long as I’m given good counter arguments as opposed to smear.

Thank You

Zach Bibeault September 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm

“Can someone explain why Yaron Brook is described as a “weak supporter” of the free market? In my opinion he has been one of the strongest. He defends Capitalism philosophically, ethically, morally, and as the most benificial system to the world.”

^Anthony, I said that because 1) in the article I read he basically said the Community Reinvestment Act caused the meltdown, and 2) he doesn’t have a sound methodology — Austrian cattalactics/praxeology.

He’s decent, but Hartmann has people like him on in order to debate the free market. I’m literally stunned that Tom Woods or Peter Schiff haven’t been on his show yet. They’d destroy him. He usually has a guy named Dan Geinor on, who’s part of the T. Boone Pickens Institute. When debating health insurance, Hartmann argued for single-payer and Gainor argued that private insurance was superior.

What Gainor amazingly ignored is that health insurance as it exists today would NEVER exist in a TRUE free market — it would only cover risk, whereas government forced insurance to cover all health expenses through employers and such. That’s what I meant.

Anthony September 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Mr. Bibeault,

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I think I understand now, though I have some homework to do. I was looking at it from a broad public relations perspective as opposed to the technicals. In that case I agree that Mr. Schiff or Tom Woods would be better equipped to put Hartmann in his place. Sadly, his destructive attitude has prevailed in the U.S. since Standard Oil.

I do hope however, that Dr. Brook is not overlooked. I think he can contribute greatly to the bigger fight. If you get the time check out his speech at the Virginia Republican Convention earlier this year on YouTube. He has the potential for great things in my humble opinion.

Anyway, I enjoy you blog greatly.


All the best,

Travis September 19, 2009 at 12:23 am

“Such an idea is literally insane, not to mention antilabor. To help workers get new jobs, Hartmann recommends forcibly limiting individuals’ entry into the market, and killing off future productivity — new wealth, new jobs, etc. In other words, he thinks we can create jobs by killing off jobs.”

Regarding this statement, I thought the problem with Hartmann’s idea is that the labor supply would be reduced, thereby increasing demand and driving up labor costs at the time when business most needs labor to be “on sale” (everything else is on sale, such as houses and the products of most businesses, so revenue is down and business can scarce afford high wages). How would it destroy jobs, except indirectly because many companies who need more employees cannot afford them at the higher labor rates?

Zach Bibeault September 19, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Travis, it would most certainly destroy jobs simply because productivity is lowered. It’s pretty much exactly what Henry Hazlitt wrote about in ‘Economics in One Lesson’ — that such schemes like driving up wages only kills more jobs in the long run than increased productivity would create.

And also your point figures in as well — labor is more expensive, therefore less likely to be employed. And when they are employed, the companies are now producing LESS wealth and paying MORE wages. In short, being far less productive. This kills jobs.

Yancey Ward September 19, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Such idiocy as Hartmann’s has been with us for a long time, but it recently has made a resurgence. Not a day goes by that I don’t see advocates for 20/30 hour workweeks or forced early retirements. If they really had the courage of their convictions, they would advocate a Logan’s Run solution.

Sonic Ninja Kitty September 19, 2009 at 9:35 pm

This is an excellent article! It is difficult for me to face the realization that Hartmann is such an illogical thinker because I first learned of him via his books on theories of education, which seemed very libertarian. Oh well.

Gil September 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Then again Hartmann fails to notice that employers will hire a young person over an old person time and time again. If a person is 45 years or older and doesn’t have exceptional job skills then their chances of getting hired is a helluva lot lower than a 20 year old in the same position. Heck! If anything, those in the workforce over 55 years old must have exceptional skills or be doing work no one else to do to be employed at all.

Zach Bibeault September 19, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Hartmann’s decent on civil liberties, and I also forgot to stress that he is NOT a big-D Democrat and Obama worshipper — he’s more of a Sweden-style social democrat/Kucinich type. He has had very few good things to say about Obama, so those are things to his credit. He also said the other day, while speaking about the AP photo where the kid got his legs blown off in Afghanistan, that war is “legalized mass murder”. So he definitely has his good points (however, since he is a such a big fan of taxation, how can he possibly say that war is legalized mass murder but taxation is not legalized theft?)

However, 95% of his show focuses on economics, so he drives me insane more times than not. But when he discusses Bush and the war he’s usually right. He’s the only person on Air America really against the war in Afghanistan.

Zach Bibeault September 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm

[[CORRECTION: I meant to say that "He has NOT had very few good things to say about Obama."]]

Yancey Ward September 20, 2009 at 11:08 am


If English is a second language for you, I will point out that your phrasing was correct the first time.

Zach Bibeault September 20, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Nope, English is my main language. Just didn’t see the word “few” in my post. lol

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