Carlson made these comments on the Friday evening installment of his Fox News opinion show, Tucker Carlson Tonight. Carlson pointed to consumer goods that are currently in short supply in the United States, including bicycles, generators, roofing materials, ammunition and propane tanks, as well as a predicted summer gas shortage.
“Keep in mind this is peacetime. We haven’t mobilized for a foreign war,” he said.
There are a variety of reasons as to why each of these goods is in short supply, from increased demand, to supply chain issues caused by the global pandemic.
“All around us, there are signs that under this White House things are getting dangerously flaky in this economy,” said Carlson. His prediction came on the heels of a statement about the higher than expected unemployment numbers that had just been released Friday, showing 6.1 percent of Americans now out of work.
At the same time as close to 14 million Americans are reporting that they can’t find satisfactory employment, record numbers of employers are reporting that they can’t find employees to staff open positions. These labor droughts are particularly notable in the restaurant and manufacturing sectors. Carlson seemed to invite a connection between the unstaffed jobs and the product shortages.
What these two sectors of jobs have in common is that in recent years, they have both been notoriously low-paying, according to CBS News.
Carlson pointed to the president’s $2 trillion stimulus package as the source of the labor mismatch, saying “the government is paying people to stay home…the government is paying people more not to work than to work.”
In many cases, the weekly unemployment insurance payout is a higher number than a state’s minimum wage take-home pay for a 40 hour per week job. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, totaling just $290 per week before taxes are taken out. And in many areas, the cost of living is much higher than what you can earn on minimum wage.
Carlson lamented the fact that many restaurants and retail establishments are resorting to tactics such as raising the starting wage in order to attract workers. An ice cream place in Pittsburgh raised their pay from $7.25 to $15 per hour. Walmart raised wages for nearly half a million employees in February, making the company-wide average pay, including employees that have worked there for decades, around $15 per hour.
“In some ways that’s good,” Carlson said. “You want people to make more. Of course, you want dollars to be worth more, and now they’re worth less.”
“But there are effects of this that we could be living with for a long time,” he continued.
“There are millions of small businesses that cannot afford to compete. They’re not Walmart. And many of them will go under because of the pressure applied by the U.S. government on the labor market,” he said, referring to the emergency safety net provided by the Biden administration’s COVID relief bill.
Newsweek reached out to Fox News for comment and will update this story with any response.