New Spin, Old Lies

Unemployment checks aren’t the problem, corporate greed is.

Stand back, readers, this one might hurt. I’m hot, I’m cranky, and I have no time to build a case for what I take to be self-evident.

If you believe our economy is tanking because workers would rather live off unemployment checks than work for minimum wage – you are being manipulated. There’s been a year of studies, economists can’t find any proof that pandemic compensation checks had anything to do with the labor shortage.

If you’re championing workers holding out for livable ages – you are also being manipulated. You are wasting your bandwidth on the smallest and least valid explanation for why businesses in certain industries are having a hard time hiring enough bodies to turn a profit.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but we are being played. Look at the numbers, it’s not hard to figure out where America’s workers have gone:

  1. They’re self-employed – the US Census Bureau reported a 13-year high in new business applications, which doubled from 2019 to 2020. Instead of calling folks lazy, maybe we could celebrate all the furloughed workers who took the opportunity to be self-reliant?
  2. They’re getting degrees – 2020 – 2021 college and graduate applications are at an all-time high, particularly for medical, law and business schools. These difficult times are inspiring many people to rise to the challenge, not sit on their butts as the media would have us believe.
  3. They’re physically unable – Sorry to have to point this out, but the industries struggling to hire employees were the hardest hit by COVID: service/hospitality, packaging/shipping, customer service, custodial, daycare, drivers… Basically many essential workers who weren’t laid off for the shutdown have been killed off or are still too disabled to work on their feet all day.

What is happening here? Why are fictional narratives about lazy workers overshadowing real stories about people advancing their careers and sacrificing their lives?

Today’s “entitled socialists” are serving the same function that “welfare queens” and “crackheads” did in the 80’s: to scare middle-class Americans into siding against their own best interests. All a politician had to do was suggest a public resource or government regulation might be exploited by Black communities, for voters to obediently rally against it.

The economy boomed but not wages. Certainly not benefits. Now here we are with an enormous wealth gap, and those holding all the money want to see us fighting over chump change. Let me say this loud for the people in back: we will get much farther if we work together.

They’re afraid of us, that’s why they’re trying to set us against each other. They know they are guilty, and that their old tricks can’t divide us forever. Every generation is more blended than the next, more united against toxic male white supremacy. Reparations are coming. Possibly retributions.

Listen. We don’t need to agree on minimum wage to address the corruption in our government. I don’t need to know how you feel about Black Lives Matter to vote with you for more transparency and accountability from our leaders. Let’s start there, and see what happens.

In the meantime, to hell with the “lazy worker” myth – what a slap in the face, after so many have lost their lives. Respect to all the new business owners and academics who’ve thrived thru the pandemic. Your smarts and skills can help create a more equitable society for everyone. Peace.

Agree? Disagree? Leave your comment below or email Follow the links in this article for deeper dives into the issues. Read Dr. Woodson’s last column here.

About Lorenzo Woodson 36 Articles
Dr. Lorenzo Woodson (Ph.D., RBT, CC, LBS) is a licensed behavior analyst specializing in clients on the autism spectrum. He lives in Germantown with his wife of 24 years, and lectures nationally for social causes. Lorenzo is a member of Men Who Care of Germantown. Connect with Lorenzo on Facebook or email him at

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