This summer is a sort of transitional period for me, between having been a TA and graduate student to being a faculty associate without the hassle of having to defend a dissertation. I taught a class for three weeks to a group of gifted and talented (and overwhelmingly upper middle class and white) kids, which paid me roughly what a summer of research assistanting would because ain't nothin' payin' like makin' privileged people's lives slightly more comfortable. I do have research to do, but no one is paying me to do that research.
What this boils down to: I have, essentially, a month and a half wherein I am completely without employment obligations for the first time since probably middle school. I blame Obama:
But Elmendorf backed Republicans' central argument — fewer people will work because of the law's subsidies.
"The act [the ACA] creates a disincentive for people to work," Elmendorf said, under questioning from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Ryan clarified that the CBO report found not that employers would lay people off, but that more individuals would choose not to work.
"As a result … that [lower] labor supply lowers economic growth," Ryan said.
Elmendorf answered: "Yes, that's right."
The fact that I'm not actively gainfully employed – that I'm sitting at home listening to construction equipment across the street and cars on their morning commute – is actually seriously distressing, despite the fact that I have all my bills taken care of until I start back up working again. I've been told to "take the time" and "enjoy it" by people who I know would all be feeling similarly restless and unfulfilled if they were in similar situations, because I have health insurance coverage, enough money to pay the bills, and I'm also kinda really fuckin' white.
However, my incentive not to work is not "because I will still be okay even if I'm not working", as Messrs Ryan and Elmendorf seem to think – that's just something enabling the decision, like what new parents are expected to do in this country. No, my incentives not to work are: to recover my sanity, to get in some reading and knitting, to clean up the house a little, and to be fresh and ready to go again come fall. Because I'm a people, and people need to do things like that sometimes. Other people have other incentives like "there are no jobs available right now" or "I don't want my kids to grow up while I'm off working" or "this book will turn out better if I just sit down and write it in one go".
As jobs become scarcer, it becomes more important to both enable and incentivise people to not work sometimes, because that's going to have to happen anyway. I'm aware that this concept rankles my betters and goes against everything Republican Jesus taught us, but maybe if more people had a bit of downtime to catch up on their families and housework and recreation, we'd all be just a bit more sane.