Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Self-Employed Work-at-Home Contractors?
There are way too many head scratchers of the breed dismalus scientificus who are experiencing a false Eureka moment . . . they’re excited 'cause they think they found the dark matter, the missing link, the identity of Deep Throat.
They think they found the “missing employed.”
Even worse, the meme has been spreading. All manners of tortured data have been trotted out; The two different survey methods (business and home) have been challenged. Hey, we know they both suck (most surveys do), and the data is not exactly reliable, but at least there’s a baseline to compare it with historically . . .
So now the latest brain droppings burst forth from both the Cato Institute and the AEI:
Its the self-employed, work-at-home contractors! Thats the missing employed, and they don’t show up in any of our data! Eureka, all is well again!
Ummm, in a word . . . No.
About those so called "self-employed work-at-home contractors contractors:"
THEY ARE JUST UNEMPLOYED.
Do you understand that? Nobody wants to say they are "not-working" at a cocktail party or a job interview or a networking event or on a date. Its awkward and leads to uncomfortable pauses. And, its a real interview killer (Ummm, yeah. . .o.k., we’ll get back to you).
Its the oldest dodge in the book. You adapt that phrase that allows you to power your way past the ackward pause that follows the “What are you doing at present?” question. There's different phraseology, depending upon your field: Attorneys claim they hung out their own shingle (“I have quite a few clients, but I’d like to get back to more challenging work than just closings and negligence litigation). On Wall Street, its called “Trading for your own account” (“Yeah, and I’ve been doing real well -- I can show you my P&L -- but I miss the cameraderie of working in a firm”)
Sure, plenty of people legitimately work at home. But anytime I ever knew anyway who was "looking for work," they invariably described themselves as "self-employed/independent contractors./freelancers ."
Apparently, the few remaining clueless who don't know what this euphemism really means are either jest plum ign'ant, or partisans trying to rationalize away the lack of job creation thus far in the recovery cycle.
(Sorry to blow you’re cover, everyone -- but I just had to . . . Hey, at least I didn’t out a CIA undercover operative).
Alan Reynolds, Cato Institute
A Jobless Recovery?
Allan H. Meltzer, American Enterprise Institute.
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