Why aren’t men working?

Many articles (starting Labor Day) have appeared on the crises of men not having jobs (Wall St Journal, NYT, NPR …) and they all agree on the stats and make the same points.

In 2015, only 85% (WSJ) to 88% (NPR) of men (in their prime working ages of 25-54) have jobs compared to the high of 97% in the 60s.

These articles talk about the many causes of this (e.g., NAFTA, they don’t want to work menial min wage jobs). But one they list is that 12% (same number in both WSJ and NPR) of the 25-54-aged males have felony convictions, which these articles claim make a person practically unemployable.

I just want to note that adding 12 to 85/88 gets one to 97/100%, so it seems possible that our war on drugs and ridiculously penal laws (and refusal to hire people convicted) is mostly to blame for this “crises”, not trade agreements.

PS With a big contribution from our broad and vague laws that allow aggressive prosectuors to charge almost anyone with something if they want to. For a great documentary on an aggressive prosecutor bringing down one our best and brightest, watch The Internet’s Own Boy: https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/The-Internet-s-Own-Boy-The-Story-of-Aaron-Swartz/70299288