Beware the Rise of Scamerica, by Robert E. Wright

Counterintuitively to those who think of government as some sort of font of morality, the more the government, the more the scams. From Robert E. Wright at

Scams, frauds, flim flams, and grifts are nothing new to America. In fact, confidence games were old hat when Clifton Wooldridge published his 1906 classic, The Grafters of America: Who They Are and How They Work, which describes common cons in fin de siecle Chicago. The recent death of notorious investment scamster Bernie Madoff should remind Americans that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

As America descends into policy disarray, the scamming of others is increasing. Wire fraud is rampant, as is the impersonation of government workers, apparently because Americans now expect government officials to accost them for quick cash at least occasionally. I focus here on a much more insidious type of scam that also seems to be on the rise, something that I will politely refer to as “substandard work,” but that in informal adult conversation usually goes by a fecal four-letter word followed by “job.”

Much of the substandard work being conducted across the country right now ultimately is the government’s fault, specifically a set of policies seemingly deliberately designed to induce Americans not to work: extra unemployment pay; major school systems remaining virtual until fall; bizarre summer camp masking requirements. The first entices lower income people to stay out of the labor market and the latter two make parents think twice, or thrice, about returning to work.

As a result, many usually reliable businesses cannot find any workers, much less good ones. Robin Jones, a regional manager for a major fast food chain in the Upper Midwest, recently told me that April and May of this year have been the tightest labor market he can remember in his 43-year restaurant career, which includes stints in Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. His back is giving out because his desk job has turned into a role as a stopgap line worker in the cheap taco wars. While he does what he can, he is only one man. The extreme dearth of workers means much longer wait times than usual and substandard service overall.

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One response to “Beware the Rise of Scamerica, by Robert E. Wright

  1. Fast forward to feudal two class society. The charlatans in charge will always get premium service. They win by making everyone else fail.

    Liked by 1 person

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