"Others say it’s a 'skills mismatch.' Personally I think both explanations are right. People whose best option is an $11 or $12/hour semi-skilled job, or a job that pays in tips, are going to hold out for the $15/hr job. That leaves businesses dependent on stable labor with massive shortages, or the unattractive option of paying more for the same unskilled labor pool."

"But even with higher pay, workers are quitting, because they know the government will pay them while they hunt for a better job."

What will be interesting to keep an eye on is to what extent this strategy (stay home and have the gov't pay for you to look for a job) ends up paying off for folks. All things being equal from a taxpayer perspective, we would rather have more $15/hour workers than $12/hour workers, so if workers can use the current situation to "level up" before the benefits expire, that may be a good thing overall. It's true that it'll hurt the lower-wage businesses, but there's been an open question for some time now to what extent some of those businesses are financially viable on their own, or whether their business model works because they can off-load things to the social safety that are part of other employers' compensation packages (insurance and other benefits, which you can get working at Amazon, but not likely as a line cook at Dennys).

If we find that "leveling up" on the government's dime (more precisely - your dime and mine) is working out for workers, we'll be left with a choice of either paying higher prices to entice "leveled-up" workers back into formerly-low wage industries OR we may have to revisit our immigration policies to bring in more workers looking to put their foot on the bottom rung on the ladder of American achievement. It should be an interesting transition period to watch, *especially* when the tax bill comes due for those benefits.

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