- McJobs and Workers -

A couple of clarifications

Posted by: Floyd ( United States ) on August 04, 1998 at 10:05:23:

In Reply to: Stop blaming someone's WILLFUL actions on others! posted by Mike Bacon on August 02, 1998 at 22:56:37:

Mike: Hey Mr. Pink Floyd! What's happening? Do you and the band still take that flying pig with you when you tour? (Heh heh! Sorry! I just couldn't resist!)

Floyd: Gosh, how clever, I've never heard that one before...too bad there's not a "drip with sarcasm" fuction on my machine.

M: As for the anti-customer attitudes the employees may exhibit, hey it's not our fault they have dysfunctional bosses and/or a francshise owner who's tight on the money.

F: Agreed. As I said, that's an explanation, not an excuse. But seriously, people who get treated poorly are likely to pass it on. Maybe YOU don't, and I try not to, and millions of others are the same, but really, if you want a guarantee of good service, fast-food places are probably not your ideal destination. That's what I meant above, and I still mean it.

M: ...But I was still pleasant to my co-workers, and the internal customers...those who received the computer-printed reports I delivered.

F: Swell, but this is a personal anecdote, and the personal and specific can not be used to explain the general. You have your own personal, historically contingent and idiosyncratic history, as do we all. It does no good, when trying to find a general explanation, to look at a single specific instance and assume that you have an explanatory model.
Your comments about middle-class suburbanites working slag jobs may be accurate, but I'm curious why a kid who gets to use his daddy's credit cards would take a minimum wage job in the first place. I mean why does s/he bother if the plastic is available?

M: Another type of employee: The single mother who for years has gotten away with taking the utmost advantage of the welfare state. Now she finds that her benefits are going to be cut (gasp!) by Newt Gingrich and those NASTY Republicans. No longer will she be able to leisurely lie on her back, spread her legs, and 9 months later have her benefit$ increased.

F: There are some serious misunderstandings here, CP. Currently, the official poverty line in the US is about $15,000 a year. In 1993, the most recent year for which I have stats handy, it was $14,764/year, and AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children, for our overseas colleagues) provided $367/month, which works out to $4,404 a year, which is $10,360 LESS THAN the poverty line. Can you support yourself and a child on $367 a month? I know I can't, and I know nobody who would get onto the system for the money.
In addition, AFDC recipients were officially prohibited from working while they were collecting, and were prohibited from owning more than $1000 worth of assets. In other words, even if it was possible to save any money onthe program, you'd be cut off if you saved more than $1000. So we really aren't talking about Reagan's "welfare mother in a caddilac". AFDC also was cut off as soon as the recipient got a job, which left her without money until the first paycheck came in, often three weeks or more later. For someone with a kid to feed, clothe, and take to the doctor, having no money at all must be traumatic.
Now, this supposedly "lazy" welfare mother has to go out and get a job, alright, fine, so what does she do with the kid? Sure, she could put her kid in daycare while she's at work, but daycare runs somewhere around $8 an hour per child right now. Minimum wage out here is just over $5, so daycare is a net loss of $3 and hour. Laziness is really not an issue here.
So maybe the new PRWORA program (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act) is supposed to help? Nope, it's sound-bite politics for your Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Clinton. It contains no solutions and will almost certainly make the problem worse. First, it cuts spending on training and education programs, which are, let's face it, the only way out of poverty besides lotto.
You see, Mike, most welfare recipients actually want to work, but this is an age where the low-skilled factory jobs your parents or grandparents could have taken no longer exist. The service-based economy cannot support unskilled labor like the industrial economy could, and yet these women can't get the training they need to enter the workforce.
In July of next year, funding will be cut off to all states that have not successfully reduced their welfare caseloads by 25%. If your Republican senators and representatives are still calling for personal responsibility and states rights by next august, I'll be mightily suprised.

M: [Oooh boy! If this gets posted, I'm gonna get some heated replies for sure! That goddam right-winger! The nerve of him for actually truthfully saying there are those who abuse public assistance.]

F: Well, seeing as how you just bought the myth of the lazy welfare recipient hook, line, and sinker, without checking to see how prevalent they actually are, maybe you've earned some flack. (That is, unless you want to admit that personal responsibility is only for OTHER folks.)
Yes, there are some people abuse welfare (The names Lockheed, Boeing, General Motors and McDonnel-Douglass jump quickly to my mind, for example,) but the vast majority of recipients are dealing with an economy that has changed and left them behind. You cannot hold someone on public assistance responsible for the fact that the Chrysler plant moved in Flint Michigan to Mexico. That's a socio-economic force that s/he had no control over. Your call for personal responsibility, while valid in may respects, has to be able to account for the actions of the global economy, or it's just not going to work.

M: To tie this up, it isn't a one-headed coin like people who think the ultra-liberal way want you to believe...

F: You also use the proverbial "Them," "They" and "The liberals" quite a bit. Would you care to attach any names to this?
I think your sources of information might need to be expanded a bit. Keep on listening to Rush Limbaugh if you want, fine, but every once in a while, read something that contradicts him and see if your arguments stand up to scrutiny. How could it hurt? If everyone that disagrees with you, Newt and Rush is a soft-headed liberal, you'll be able to find arguments against them easily, right? (Heh Heh, intellegence is a virus) Good luck, and keep thinking for yourself.

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