Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lazy Americans

I want to laugh at Missouri Rep. Ed Emery, of Lamar, Mo. (R), who admits to inserting this language into the final report of the House Special Committee on Immigration Reform:

“The lack of a traditional work ethic, combined with the effects of 30 years of abortion and expanding liberal social welfare policies have produced a shortage of workers and a lack of incentive for those who can work. . . . Today’s growing affinity for government dependency has created a class of potential employees who are not eager to work.”

For one, where does one look to find the root of why a "traditional" work ethic is no longer widespread enough to be called traditional?

Umm, what culture spawned people my age? Boomers, right? I doubt that my parents, aunts/uncles and their friends would consider themselves liberal or having deliberately destroyed my generation's work ethic. Chime in, 50-60-somethings, with your view, please.

Personally, my work ethic is average, I think. I struggle to find someone who has an affinity for government dependency. (And, how long can a person be thusly dependent anyway? We limit "welfare," you know,* except for SSI disability, right?)

Ok, though, here's what makes me ill, the implication that American citizens are aborting the kids who would otherwise fill the ranks of our shrinking domestic working class.

Not enough of us (or does Emery mean "them?") are having kids who want to be good, stay in school and graduate from substandard, unaccredited institutions (just enough to be qualified) to work as hotel housekeepers, roofers, yard workers and line cooks.

On the other hand, those of us who do have enough money already to get our kids in suburban or private schools, or those who are simply great parents and very involved in their kids' education so that they turn out ambitious and with critical thinking skills, well, we're not doing that just so they can only flip burgers, dig holes, scrub toilets and hammer nails in the sun.

I know people who have done these jobs, of course; I and most of my friends have all worked in the wondrous fast-food industry at one time or another. The only reason someone stays long in a place like that is because they have to - they are not skilled enough to do anything else or they have a criminal record or they are working their way through school still or are in need of a second job, etc.

Count me in as not doing my part to contribute to the working population, at any rate.

Not enough "American babies" being born as worker bees? Sounds to me like Emery is hinting that the populace is getting too smart and/or cranky to submit to being mere drones their entire lifetimes. I know, I know, work and you will advance, work hard and you can be anything, even an elected official, even a superstar like Denzel or Oprah.

What about the fact that American employers like cheap labor, period? $5.50/hour gets you $10,920 a year (before any taxes), and, well, that does tend to stretch farther if you're spending it chiefly south of the border while living in some urban crumbhole with 12 other guys up north. Although, I hear that Tyson pays about $9/hour for ripping up chickens with your hands.

You could raise a whole family of replacement workers on that!

*"The time limit is one of the major differences between the old AFDC system and the TANF system. Federal block grant monies cannot be used to provide benefits to families beyond a 60-month limit, although states are free to use their resources to provide benefits beyond the 60-month limit (Michigan and Vermont have no time limit). Missouri maintains the federal limit of 60 months. Missouri was one of the last states to implement the time limit. There are no extensions allowed in Missouri."
(from Welfare Reform in Missouri, MSCDC Economic Report Series No. 9803; June 1998, by Peter Eaton of the Center for Economic Information, University of Missouri-Kansas City)

1 comment:

DKC said...

Quite frankly I've never been one to be eager to work...
and I'm over a hundred in work years.