They're not "lazy"
While we're here ... Today's WaPo has this headline: "Faced with GOP criticism, attorney general defends school board memo." How about, "Congressional Republicans defend threatening people's lives"?
It's the same old fairytale I used to hear when I was a kid growing up in the 60s. Lazy people don't want to work because all they have to do is stay home and collect welfare. Of course we know what the code for "Lazy" was and still is. The Republicans have always been against Social Security and any safety net that a true democracy puts in place to defend and help its people. Of course however, they hide behind this inane argument that if the government just gives people money they won't want to work. What they really mean is the workers won't want to work at menial jobs at absurdly low wages to help maintain and expand the wealth of their owners. The pandemic has had an impact on this country in many ways. What we are seeing is something long overdue. It's a worker revolt. They're as mad as hell and they are not going to take it anymore. I could never understand how people of moderate means could agree with the argument made by wealthy folks, and stoked by the MSM, that unions were the problem. These same working class people often bitched and moaned about their longer hours and shrinking pay and yet could not see the connection between those facts and having an advocate for their rights as workers. Thankfully and hopefully the American worker is starting to wakeup. I'm not saying that business owners that accept a lot of risk are not entitled to make a lot of money. But when CEOs makes 321 times (2020 stats) more than the average worker, something is not right.
I offered up the following comment at The NY Times on a Farhad Manjoo column titled "Even with a dream job, you can be antiwork. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/opinion/work-resignations-covid.html
"There is a cultural bias that has been instilled as part of the American Dream myth - the idea that if you work hard, you will be rewarded.
The reward is always framed in terms of becoming rich. We measure status by how much money someone has.
When we talk about education, the emphasis is always about preparing people for the workplace. The goal is all about getting an education that will ensure a path to prosperity. If someone is stuck in a job that doesn’t pay well, they are told to go out and get training for a better job - meaning one that pays more.
It even extends to religion. The prosperity gospel proclaims if you are truly a righteous person of faith, you will be rewarded in this world with material wealth. If not, there is something wrong with you.
This is great for people with wealth who need a steady supply of worker drones who will not question a system that treats them as disposable. It’s a system that excuses massive inequality on the grounds that the rich are harder workers, are smarter, are being rewarded for their virtues - and not because they have been able leverage their wealth to become even wealthier, accumulate it, and pass it on to their children as a birthright, not something they earned.
Nowhere in this is regard for becoming a better person, a good parent, a good neighbor, a good citizen, a well-rounded person with broad interests. None of this is about fully realizing human potential - just cranking the money machine around in a rat race."
This scene from Star Trek: First Contact offers a competing vision. https://youtu.be/8rh3xPatEto
The industrial revolution prompted an economic debate about how much labor should be paid. One of, if not *the* most prevalent theories was that wages should be basically subsistence level so workers literally couldn't afford to quit. An alternative justification for low wages was the theory that higher pay would remove the incentive for hard work. One setback for low wages was the fact that workers who were barely surviving on their own could not afford to have a family and produce the next generation of cheap labor. The debate over how much is too much (or not enough) has never ended, and today's rabid capitalists still believe that people are inherently lazy and won't work unless they are kept desperate. Always comforting to know 18th century economics are guiding conservative economics.
My one wish is that when election time rolls around all the workers remember every word spoken by repugs and newspapers and TV reporters. That every student of age to vote 🗳 sends a clear message to the repugs you are running out of time and we the people are going to send you home for not doing your job for the people. The newspapers and TV personalities who tell lies everyday they open their mouths your day is coming. Because we the people no longer believe anything said by you and that's sad you've gone from respected journalists to entertainment news reporters who lie.
The Times has long been anti labor. They love to bash the teachers’ unions and blame them for the ills in education.
I support Unions but all were tarnished by the widespread corruption among leadership in a few sectors during the 60s and 70s, which made the public receptive to the GOP’s union bashing message. Then Reagan came along and broke labor’s back during the air controllers’ strike. It’s been downhill ever since. Such a proud and bloody history—people died fighting for workers’ rights—yet too many allowed them to slip away, voting for the GOP, helped by more anti labor stories written by journalists and shaped by editors who (many but certainly not all!) are well paid and receive nice perks and good benefits.
And here we are.
Have none of these people experienced hard times in their lives? Lord forbid workers’ wages should be more than adequate to meet employee/family needs while dinging the profits of big business. Rabid capitalists indeed, Charley. There is something terribly wrong when it’s the middle class and poor who are willing to help his/her neighbor while the entitled and privileged among us, politicians too, turn their backs on doing good vs making money. All evidence tells us that the msm touts Republican talking points to blame the victim. I for one am thrilled workers are saying no to crappy jobs and wages and that unions might be making a return to power. If the press won’t tell the truth about this story of profits and greed while giving cover to their bosses, union leaders and members will. Pray that the tide is turning in favor of workers, who finally have some leverage with which to challenge the powers that be.
The press is married to big business and furthers their narratives. As far as the latter are concerned, working people should simple take what they are given and shut up. I know of people who've worked decades in broadcasting who have never gotten anything more than a meager raise no matter the amount of work they do. They are told, "Where are you going to go if you quit," and "I can get anyone off the street to do what you do." They can get someone off the street to do what someone working for 20 years does? Hardly.
Much of Europe changed its tune after its run of labor strife. Turn out a happy workforce is a productive one. Glad you cited Krugman. He's been making that point for years. Where's the DNC on this? Too busy findraising?
I’ve mentioned it before, but to me the big tell about the medias corporate bias is that there is NOT a Workers section of the papers and there is no workers equivalent of business news channels.
It’s baked into the DNA of our media.
“Between mid-June and mid-September, the number of people who said they couldn’t work because they were sick with Covid or were caring for someone who had the virus rose by 2.5 million,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
And let's not forget that 700,000+ Americans have died from the virus. Many of them worked too. Have all of those vacancies been filled? I doubt it.
There is an odd flip side to the labor shortage story, albeit anecdotal. I have seen more than 1 person post that they have applied for 50 jobs and not gotten a response from any of them. These are not competitive, high paying jobs - just retail and service jobs. Has anyone else heard these tales? Hard to fill jobs if you don't respond to the applicants, eh?
Just as the press doesn't interview workers, they aren't interviewing job seekers. I found 2 articles that address this phenomenon but only for skilled workers. I'm pretty sure this is happening in non-skilled jobs, as well.
"... cut off benefits, which costs the states nothing..." what happened to the money for those benefits? were the states allowed to keep it? please say No.
I claim “lazy worker” journalists. Why interview workers, especially why interview out-of-work workers, when business owners are so much easier to find? Where do you even find out-of-work workers? And wouldn't it piss of business owners to interview their workers when they are supposed to be working?
On Saturday, visiting a (progressive) friend who lives in ultra-conservative Woodland, California, we went to a Starbucks for coffee. We were served, but told we wouldn't be able to stay because they were closing early (3:30ish) because they were short-handed and it appeared nobody was coming to work the evening shift. Even in bucolic, right-wing Woodland, Starbucks wages are poverty.
Here is a variation on the theme...a rather painful truth, I daresay: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/lectures-from-limousine-liberals