Princeton professor and former Obama White House economist Alan Krueger would like for you to know that low labor force participation rates likely have nothing to do with Obama's awful "jobs recovery", stagnant real wages or soaring entitlements that provide massive disincentives to work. Rather, his "thorough research" indicates that men are more likely dropping out of the labor force due to excessive back pain and/or because video gaming technology has become so amazing that young adults are just choosing to stay home instead. Sadly, this is a true story.
According to The Washington Examiner, Krueger's "research" indicated that 47% of men, between the ages of 25 and 54, reported taking pain medication during the previous day. Of those men, 40% said their pain prevented them from working. To summarize, the awful labor market under Obama has nothing to do with his failed economic policies...it's pure coincidence that as soon as Obama took office a massive percent of the overall working-age male population came down with severe back pain. That seems reasonable.
Nearly half of working-age men who aren't in the labor force take daily pain medication, according to new research that highlights one alarming possible reason for weak labor force participation in the U.S.
Of men between the ages of 25 and 54, 47 percent said that they took pain medication during the previous day in a survey commissioned by Princeton professor and former Obama White House economist Alan Krueger. For two-thirds of those men, the medication was prescribed.
Those results line up with what Krueger found in government-conducted surveys, and they add a new explanation for low male labor force participation, namely that many men may be too sick or injured to work.
Of the men who reported taking medication, 40 percent said that pain prevented them from working.
But back pain apparently isn't the only thing keeping young men out of the work force. Krueger also asserts that the improved quality of video gaming consoles has caused young people to increasingly choose "idleness" over work. Yes, we're sure it has nothing to do with minimal job growth and stagnant or declining real wages for America's youth...video games makes a lot more sense.
The analysis downplays some of the reasons that have been suggested for the drop. For instance, Krueger reports little evidence that disability insurance is increasingly a disincentive to work, as some economists have suggested.
Instead, he focuses on the possibility that some working age people, especially men, have health problems, and that getting them back to work might necessitate increasing their access to healthcare.
For younger working-age men, aged 21-30, video games also may be part of the problem, Krueger finds. While falling labor force participation for that group mostly reflects school attendance, idleness is also up. And that might be because, he finds, playing video games is more attractive than older forms of idleness, such as watching television. He discovers that young men out of the labor force spent 6.7 hours a week on average playing video games in the years 2012-2015, up from 3.6 hours a week in 2004-2007.
Sounds like a simple little video gaming tax should clear up the unemployment problem among America's youth. This could be a huge win for Democrats as they could raise taxes and solve unemployment with one simple bill...best of both worlds.
And parents are actually paying Princeton nearly $100k a year for their kids to be taught this garbage.