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The Quit Rate Is A Signal Not A Cause

Someone is really upset that poor people are earning more money.

5 min readOct 17, 2021


The quit rate in August set a new record: 4.3 million people quit their jobs for better pay, better work conditions, or human infrastructure support. The stimulus payments, the enhanced unemployment benefits, and child tax credits have added much-needed juice and relief to a struggling economy. And the rentier class complains.

Economist Dean Baker wrote the following a few days ago:

Many in the media are very upset that workers at the bottom end of the pay scale feel secure enough to demand higher pay and better working conditions. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching a television anchor, who earns $6 million a year, complain that 3 percent of the workforce quit their job in August. They seemed to find the idea of workers quitting unsatisfactory jobs appalling.

A fair number of pundits have been selling the fear of inflation. According to our best data, we’ve seen an inflation rate of 5.4% in the last few months. Most conservative politicians and pundits, with their eyes on 2022, are pointing to the money pumped into the economy by the government as a primary cause of inflation. But they’re being very selective.

They only point to the money paid to the middle class and below. They ignore the money paid to wealthy people through the Federal Reserve quantitative easing program, historically low interest rates that wealthy people use to borrow money and buy assets, and tax laws that most people don’t even know how to use. The talking heads have ignored the massive spike in billionaire wealth during the pandemic. Their message?

“We’re not worried about inflation if you give money to rich people. But if you give money to the little people, inflation is all we’re going to talk about until 2022.”

The press would have us believe that government benefits have discouraged people from working and that employers are competing with that free money. Few are pointing to the supply chain interruptions in just about everything from gas to computer chips as a source of inflation.

The supply chain narrative focuses on people who are unwilling to work. The mainstream narrative ignores the low…