Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Grand Old Party and the Grand Old Bargain

     After a while (and these days, hiring managers will say that interregnum is about three nanoseconds after you're terminated), your unemployed status will turn against you. More and more, we're hearing stories about how the unemployed are turned away or silently have their resumes thrown in the circular file because, well, the unemployed are just so icky!
     But the plain fact is, these eugenics-enabling psychopaths who would love nothing more than for us to starve to death and go away are really the problem or at least perpetuating and exacerbating a pre-existing problem and that problem is unemployment, that stubborn thingie the Obama administration would vastly prefer we'd forget about. If you're an Obama administration official or a bureaucrat in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's The Problem That Won't Go Away.
     To show you how utterly clueless Obama is and always will be regarding unemployment, when he unveiled his "Grand Bargain" that's obviously geared to cutting corporate taxes to what John McCain wanted in 2008 (25%), he did so in a "fulfillment center" in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The euphemistically redubbed fulfillment center, a $10 way of saying "warehouse", was owned by Amazon, the multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporation that uses virtually all temps, makes them toil, literally, in sweatshop conditions until they faint from the heat and is quite happy to see them work their fingers to the bone for years at a time for minimum wage.
     Oh, and the other part of Obama's "Grand Bargain" is to somehow stimulate manufacturing jobs, making his choice of a warehouse that offers no manufacturing jobs whatsoever to make his announcement an even bigger mystery. His naivete or utter bald-faced corruption is breathtaking. Obama's "Grand Bargain" seems predicated on the stupendously stupid and easily-disproved belief that if we slash corporate taxes even more, they'll gladly hire more people and stop outsourcing everything under the sun but food service and warehouse jobs. All things considered, I'm actually a little surprised Obama didn't make his speech on July 30th at Apple's Foxconn in China, the place with the anti-suicide netting.
     But this little editorial aside aside, for years we've been seeing a trend that had begun years ago of hiring managers skeeving the unemployed, which is why you keep hearing of people who are still unemployed after four years or more (such as me). HR Directors and other hiring managers are already exacerbating and perpetuating a serious enough problem, which is insufficient or nonexistent job opportunities. When you hear about the Obama administration crowing about better-than-expected numbers from the BLS (such the annual and inevitable spurt in government sector jobs just before the tax deadline), it invariably fails to say that the unemployment figures simply do not count those who have been discouraged after one, two, three, four or more years of unemployment and have stopped looking for work. Those whose unemployment benefits had been exhausted (such as me and Mrs. JP) are also not included since the unemployment figures are largely predicated on UI claims.
     I admit, I've gotten discouraged to the point of not looking for work for months at a time because what few manufacturing jobs supposedly available on Craigslist and elsewhere have nearly 100% of the time been farmed out to predatory temp agencies offering minimum wage to pennies an hour over the state minimum of $8 p.h. And just getting your foot in the door for one of those menial, dead-end, low wage, no benefit temp jobs is next to impossible when they see you're out of work. They expect you to be already employed, which doesn't explain why anyone currently employed would want to apply for a shitty temp job 30 miles from home at minimum wage and no health care.
     There are certain worker advocacy groups out there such as UCubed (to whose newsletter I subscribe) who are openly lobbying for less outsourcing, more hiring of the unemployed and no discrimination against the unemployed (many of whom having lost their jobs due to outsourcing, offshoring, downsizing or, in my case, embezzlement on the part of ownership). But these advocacy groups and their endless petitions have gotten very little traction and have made next to no impact on Capitol Hill. Republicans who cynically ran on jobs platforms in 2010 and 2012, immediately the moment after they took their greasy paws off the Bible, forgot about the jobless problem facing this country, the worst and longest such extended spell since the Great Depression.
     All things considered, Mrs. JP and I have been fabulously lucky we're not living out of our 15 year-old car and scrounging for leftovers in McDonald's trash cans. The readers I used to have and the very few I have left have been generous over the years but I fear we have begun running out of luck (with a greatly diminished readership came greatly diminished donations). I know I made an appeal just last month for help but, with one exception (and you know who you are, Sweet Alabama), it was met with stony silence.
     Last month was a tougher than usual month. We had to renew our AAA membership to the tune of nearly $100, there were two birthdays on successive days and the heat wave necessitated the installation of our air conditioner, which is going to jack up our electric bill next month. After paying the rent on the first, we were left with a mere fraction of what we need to keep body and soul together for just another month. So any help anyone could offer would be fabulously appreciated.
     In the meantime, I'm still looking for a job but my resumes and letters of interest have invariably dropped into the memory hole. And I have no confidence this administration or Congress or the next will make any significant headway toward actual job creation.


At August 4, 2013 at 8:36 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

It is miserable that you get treated as a pariah for seeking employment while unemployed. It's like the joke about banks loaning you money only when you don't need any.

At August 5, 2013 at 3:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

did it ever occur to you that perhaps the polarizing crap you write might have offended people sufficiently that they are no longer reading you?

And really- "had to" renew your AAA membership? There are plenty of poor folks out there who don't have that luxury. Such a first world problem.

At August 5, 2013 at 9:50 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Gee, what was I thinking in assuming a political blog wouldn't be polarized?

Or maybe you're being judgmental of me for rightly criticizing every liberal's favorite, shiny, happy President for tanking the economy, working in cahoots with Wall Street and the GOP, killing American citizens abroad and spying on us through drones, the NSA, telcoms and internet behemoths as if we're a nation of 300,000,000 criminals and terrorists?

And I never thought AAA a "luxury". It's a money-saving measure for those who can spare $80 a year but not $100 to tow their cars a half a mile across town.

At August 13, 2013 at 4:48 PM, Blogger David Macharelli said...

Ah, the old "You need to be currently in a similar role to be qualified for this temp job" rejection. I took one of those pretty hard a few months ago. It does make one want to give up entirely.

My resume had every qualification that they claimed to be seeking, but had an 18 month gap in that field (which I've been filling with the sort of volunteer & part time work that one need to continually prove oneself not "lazy") My exchange with my rep at the temp agency went something akin to:

ME: "But... the resume I just sent you has everything they're asking for?

HR: "I see that, but you're no doing that job now, Are you?"

ME: "Well, no. Our company went out of business entirely in early 2011. But I have been doing XYZ to stay fresh"

HR: "I see. They'll really very strict about it. They won't consider anyone who's not currently in this role. I don't think you'll be a good fit."

As any well-trained American, I blamed myself for months afterward before trying again. Still, when I see an HR rep on the news talking about how they have jobs but a dearth of qualified applicants, I wonder if it's because their definition of "qualified" has been perverted away from "capable of filling the role" and into "meets 100% of listed criteria".


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