An Honest Slogan for SAG: "Don't Quit Your Day Job"
By Bryan Caplan
From the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly:
[S]ome producers fear that a strike is inevitable – especially since an estimated 80 percent of SAG members are unemployed and thus have nothing to lose by walking out.
This is a cute quip, but it’s off the mark. Actors could easily believe they have nothing to lose. But they’re mistaken. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Pushing wages above the market-clearing level causes unemployment. Yes, SAG is one of the main reasons* why actors have an 80% unemployment rate in the first place!
The upshot: If SAG manages to negotiate a “better deal” for actors, working actors will benefit, but getting a “big break” (or even a little break) will be harder than ever. Unemployment actors may think things can’t get any worse; but if SAG succeeds, “don’t quit your day job” is going to become even better advice than it already is.
* Normally, I’d say that it’s *the* reason; but acting is one of those weird occupations where most “workers” have negative productivity to begin with. In other words, they can’t actually do the job they’re struggling to get.