2022 has shown America its worst inflation in the past 40 years after the government "misjudged" key fiscal areas of concern, according to the Wall Street Journal. That, coupled with the fact that it was easier to buy a home during the great depression than it is today, gasoline prices skyrocketing to all-time highs, and supply chain issues culminating in record-high costs for consumer goods, and it's tougher and tougher for folks to make ends meet in 2022.
There are other key economic factors that aren't given enough legislative attention, either: little to nothing is being done to contain the housing crisis or the throngs of "shrouded corporations" buying up private units and plots of land while jacking up prices of rent and mortgages making the American Dream of owning a house a more and more distant fantasy for many Americans.
In Canada, some attention is being turned towards price-setting by real estate companies and "property hogs" who are being accused of colluding with one another artificially inflate the cost of living in some areas, pricing it well out of people's salary ranges.
And there's the question of worker salaries not matching the rate of inflation or higher costs of living, especially when it comes to renting.
Between 1985 and 2020, for instance, the average median cost of rent in America rose a whopping 149%. The average salary and overall income of a household? Just 35%, meaning that Americans were forced to spend more and more of their money on a place to live, making it nearly impossible for some folks to have savings unless they worked extra jobs.
Speaking of extra jobs, a third of Americans have reported to having at least one side-hustle in addition to their full time job, which appears to corroborate the fact that 64% of US citizens are living paycheck to paycheck.
Which could be why so many Redditors are applauding this man's response to his "Boomer" parents about worker pay.
In a blog submitted to the Reddit's Antiwork sub, a user with the handle @Madamiamadam submitted a post titled: "Shut my Boomer parents down today."
They write in the post: "Boomer parents are in from out of town. We were driving around and we were talking about their friend who runs a plumbing business. They stated that work was crazy in their home state but their friend had a problem getting new employees/keeping employees. I asked why."
They then delineated their interaction with their folks:
"Parent: Well all these new kids want more money and don't have the experience to earn that much
Me: So if he can't afford to pay them it sounds like he's sh***y at business.
Parent: Well he can't afford to pay what all these big businesses are paying and offer the same benefits
Me: If you can't pay your employees what they want/they are worth they will find somebody who will. Why would you work for less money?"
The Redditor then defined what a "Free Market" entails to his parents which effectively ended their dinner conversation, well, for at least "15 minutes" as written by OP.
"Parent: If he can't get employees he can't make his business work!
Me: If he can't afford to pay people what they are worth and other businesses will, then his business deserves to fail. That sounds like the free market worked just fine and is getting rid a sh***y business.
Parent: *silence for 15 minutes*"
They ended their post rhetorically asking why some people can't understand why the "free market" ultimately works both ways. If businesses cannot afford to hire employees to come and work for them, then they will not survive.
However, there were some commenters who highlighted several examples of the "free market" in America being an illusion.
"Free Market also means Free to fail, but our government doesn't seem to understand that considering how often they give corporate welfare I mean bailouts."
"Only...if you're too big to fail. They don't care about the small businesses, just the ones with, you know, shareholders."
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses received Federal Government Bailouts that were taken from taxpayer dollars. At the height of the pandemic, US airline companies received a whopping $54 billion of citizens' money due to their inability to manage their finances properly and wrapping up the majority of their capital in risky stock buyback programs.
United Airlines came under heavy criticism after the company received bailout money to maintain operations, including keeping employees on staff. Immediately after receiving the funds from the Federal Government, the company engaged in mass layoffs, putting further stress on taxpayers to then cover their costs of living through unemployment services.
Oxford Languages defines the term "free market" as: "an economic system in which prices are determined by unrestricted competition between privately owned businesses."
Many have rejected the idea that the United States Government, which clearly shows favoritism to specific corporations, and whose politicians are sponsored by big businesses who influence legislation to further line their pockets, is an actual Democracy with a free market.
Instead, the United States has been referred to either as a corporation or more fittingly, a Corporate Republic.