It’s a little more complicated than that. Americans may not be willing to work as dishwashers, hotel maids, and landscapers for what employers are willing and able to pay. Frankly, the government, with the lucrative set of benefits available to stay idle, does not encourage an empty tummy that will get people to accept lower wage jobs. How can I say this?
FIrst of all, according to this Baltimore Sun article, a mother of 2 receiving welfare receives compensation that is equivalent to approximately $18.35 per hour. (Obviously, the welfare package value is dependent upon a number of different factors, so this number would vary).
It is my understanding that SSDI can pay up to $2,253 per month.
In Maryland, the minimum wage is now $10.10 per hour, one of the highest in the nation. That equates to $1,751 per month (with a 40 hour workweek).If you look at the federal minimum wage ($7.25), that is $1,257 per month.
I could go through the other permutations, but the point is that there is a pretty significant disincentive to pursue low skill / low wage work. Despite all the unicorns and rainbows we hear on the mainstream news, the fact of the matter is that fewer Americans are working than ever before. The labor force participation rate is abysmally low:
The point is that it is economically disadvantageous for people to accept low-wage jobs. With the recent increases given to welfare benefits and marketing of those employment disincentives, more and more people are taking welfare rather than hard work.
Without the availability of off-the-book people who are ineligible to receive those benefits, the lower wage jobs would have to significantly raise their rates in order to attract people back into the workforce.