Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lazy workers living off the state?

MC1 wrote: 

"If you have low work skills, why would you work at all? It's all handed to you. You have to be responsible enough to want to be educated and make yourself marketable in this life. " 

This is the common story about people with low work skills, widely believed by those who've never been there or seen it up close, so I don't blame you for repeating it. But it is not only untrue, but cruelly untrue. 

The wrongness of this belief can be seen in the fact that even as the education level of the population keeps growing the median income and percent of the working age population with jobs failed to grow for several decades and now is falling. 

When Saint Gobain can get away with advertising for experienced machine setter-operators able to read blueprints and precision instruments for $10 an hour, we're in trouble. That's a $20 job at least, requiring a high level of attention, skill and reliability, plenty of sleep and a good diet. (Been there, done that.) So if it goes begging, they'll complain of a shortage of qualified workers. If people take it, they'll have to take a second job, come in when they're sick - and maybe apply for food stamps if they're supporting a family. And then St. Gobain will complain of a low quality of worker. 

So we cut off food stamps and school breakfasts, cut off Section 8 vouchers, cut off aid for dependent children and force more people to take jobs they can't afford, force them to take these desperately underpaid jobs. Then we have more children growing up with no adults at home and no food in the house, unable to pay attention in school because they're hungry ... and not equipped to take even that machine setter job, not even having the work skills to hold any job, really. 

Where does that then leave the American Dream? How does it become their dream? 
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