FARGO — Businesses can't find workers, least of all good ones, and so by God the Republicans are going to take away unemployment benefits to force those good-for-nothing bums back to work. Take that, you lecherous derelicts. Turn off Maury Povich and get your lazy rear ends back to the restaurant.

No one wants to work anymore!

That's the rallying cry of businesses who can't find workers, and of the powerful institutions that support the business community.

But a guy's gotta feed his family, right? And if you wrest him (or her) away from the government teat, he'll have to crawl back to his low-wage job with a smile on his face and some humble in his pie. That'll show him who's boss and you can be darned sure it ain't him.

Just one question: What if he (or she) doesn't come crawling back?

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What if, and we know this sounds crazy, workers decide they aren't coming back to work for $10 an hour? That they're afraid of co-workers who haven't been vaccinated from COVID and aren't willing to risk their health for minimum wage?

What if women, who've been especially hard hit by the pandemic because they bore the brunt of childcare responsibilities when remote learning became widespread, decide to not return to the workforce because it isn't worth it? If the majority of your paycheck is being sucked up by daycare, there's not much point to earning one.

There's a chance, you know, that businesses can't find employees not because of supplemental unemployment benefits or laziness.

There's a chance it's because businesses aren't paying high enough wages.

Maybe the onus is on businesses to pay better wages to attract workers.

Whoa. That's like a line from a radical, 1920s union organizing pamphlet. Right here in 2021.

What comes around goes around, baby.

But isn't that the way a free market is supposed to work? If a worker has a skill an employer needs, even if that skill is rudimentary, then that skill has a certain value. If many workers have that same skill, then it is of less value. But if there is a shortage of that skill — and businesses are saying they are suffering from a worker shortage — then it becomes more valuable.

Capitalism 101, right?

Except that, American business in the 21st century believes capitalism is a one-way street. It believes it is entitled to wages that have been so low for so long, and profits that have been so high for so long.

There is one sure-fire way to fill job openings: Pay higher wages.

There is one sure-fire way to fill job openings with quality employees: Pay even higher wages.

Funny though, that never seems to be offered as a solution by Republicans, who claim to be the party of free market capitalism.

There are two ways to get people to fill job openings. You can starve 'em or you can pay 'em. Republicans and businesses are trying the former. It says here the latter would work better.