Friday, October 10, 2008

How to Cut the Unemployment Rate

Everybody just get back to work.

Yep, that's all it takes, apparently, to reduce the unemployment rate to Zero. At least that's what White House Spokeswhore Dana Perino says today.

The White House thinks there's no reason to extend unemployment benefits since the only thing holding back the American economy is those lazy bastards on "the dole" who kick back in their Barcaloungers, sipping double-caf creamy-half lattés and watching their big-screen televisions.

If we could just get them off their asses and back to work, everything will be hunky dory. Never mind the fact that the unemployment rate is now the highest it's been in five years, never mind the fact that we've lost something like 150,000 jobs in the last month, never mind the fact that there have never been enough jobs in this economy to put everyone to work.

Let me repeat that: There have NEVER been enough jobs in the American economy to put everyone to work.

There's a reason for that. Even in a so-called "full employment" economy, there is a certain amount of unemployment built in -- baked into the cake, so to speak. That way, no one can afford to be complacent about his or her job, and with the threat of being fired (or "laid off") hanging over your head, you are much more likely to be a "Good Toby" and not make waves. Like agitating to get paid a decent wage, have health benefits, join a union, for example.

Like I say, it's baked into the recipe. It's how capitalism really works. God forbid a worker would be able to negotiate from a position of strength with an employer. God forbid that an employer would actually be so desperate for workers that he'd be willing to pay them a living wage, give them health benefits, sick leave, paid vacations, etc etc.

Okay, I'm being a little simplistic. The actual system is a little more complex than this, but at its core, my theory holds up.

So it rings a little hollow for Ms. Perino to claim that all the unemployed need to do is "get back to work". While she admits that she's never been in that position, here's hoping that when she's out of work come January, she'll have to go on "the dole" and see how it feels.

Yeah, like that's every gonna happen...


jae said...

I've been at the same company now for almost three years.

2008 came and at least twice a week - sometimes more! - I get people calling looking for a job.

I did 15 years of corporate and then ended up under a boss that saw that not only was I way better looking with a superior wardrobe, but also significantly smarter than her. That was the end of THAT. Fortunately, HR saw the situation for what it was and made sure I got 26 weeks severence and uncontested unemployment.

It is sad to know that I will never ever afford retirement....

Lisa P said...

What's interesting is all of the talk about how low our unemployment is right now. Never mind those lost in the system because of how long they've been without a job. Never mind what our unemployment would be without the Iraq War! Can you imagine? It's pretty pathetic to be in this kind of a mess with a War keeping many busy and employed. It took WWII to boost us out of the Great Depression. What will boost us out of the current disaster? I have a bad feeling part of the reason we are still at war is to mask how rough things really are.