Reality Check

Here is some healthy corrective:

Six hours was enough, between the 6 a.m. start time and noon lunch break, for the first wave of local workers to quit. Some simply never came back and gave no reason. Twenty-five of them said specifically, according to farm records, that the work was too hard.

So they go back to collecting unemployment or something? Yikes, that’s crazy-juice for right-leaning voters.

The thing that irritates me about ‘jobs policy’ (what a ridiculous term) is that people are not very concrete about the problem and I like to remind myself sometimes what it’s all about.

First remember that to quiet down voters we need to satisfy several apparently contradicting impulses:

People don’t want to live in rural areas.

People don’t want to do manual labor. People don’t want to work hard generally. That’s not a criticism, mind you. Who wants to be forced to do something unpleasant?

People want a better life than their parents and are happy to wait for it. And live with their parents until it arrives.

“Good jobs” allow people be lazy, urban and rich. Auto workers were the poster-children of this movement, and for good reason.

I grew up in the catchment area for the Motor City Auto industry and I’ll always remember the stories of the Temporary Part Time job contracts some kids of auto workers were granted.

This was stuff that made lazy teenagers salivate: lots of downtime, no skills required, lots of breaks, discounts on cars and $22/hour in 1998 for a 17-year-old. Absolutely outrageous. And the employment practices were no better than the most hideous nepotocracies* on earth. Insiders win.

Anyway, a complete discussion of this should match my criteria above with a picture of who is actually unemployed.

See here too. In order of predictive power, my understanding is that the characteristics go like this: poorly educated, urban, young and dark-skinned. I’m not actually sure this matters, because the unemployed have probably always come from the ranks of the disenfranchised in society.

*I wish I could put that one into the words of the day, but I googled it and found loads of instances. No such thing as a new idea, I suppose.

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