Recently, I posted a "jobs" add on Craigslist titled Good Men. I encouraged men with children to apply, though the only true requisites were a good attitude, a solid work ethic and an ability to lift a heavy load. I was looking for one man to help me transfer the contents of Monster Halloween to the rented storage facility. A one day job, $10/hr, a meal and maybe beer afterwards. Not much, but something.
Fifty-seven good men applied, in the four hours the add was open. Many of them with children, almost all out of work, many from the trades, many out of work for a long time. Had I had the work I would have hired most of them. I didn't have much time to consider. It came down to two men, Mark R who is out of work and has a wife and three girls, and Kenny T, a new father. I chose Kenny, because he was reasonably articulate in his reply, because another man I had already hired is about to be a new father, and - this was the clincher - his son shares my birthday, the 4th of July.
Kenny did great. He's Texan, here because his father is. He doesn't much like the winter, though I wouldn't expect him to. I gave him $100 though he didn't work a full ten hours. But then, he worked more than ten, if you consider the bus ride and the waiting, between Uptown Minneapolis and Columbia Heights.
The Government says about 9% unemployment, but that's bullshit. It's more like 17-18%, and more than that if you consider the under-employed. The nation's economy grew about 2.5% last quarter, GDP has recovered to pre-2008 recession levels, but where are the jobs? I was under the impression that the Market is infallible. So we have been told, repeatedly.
Do we have any kind of plan for these good men, or are we simply going to leave it up to sky gods to figure it out? They are howling for tax cuts, you know, those sky gods. But eliminate sky god taxes entirely and it won't mean jack if they have no sense of civic, social responsibility. This is a Republic, yes? Or have we become a Plutocracy, in which case, the only real concern is the maintaining of order, that sky gods may become more powerful, more rich?
The trades aren't likely to improve, anytime soon. So what is going to happen to these men? the re-training argument is mostly pandering to the Higher-Education Industry, putting off the problem, a high-cost we can't afford. And what exactly are we going to retrain them to do?
I can think of a few things, like getting a handle on invasive species like Buckthorn, planting native habitats and growing healthy food. How about sustainable, passive-solar design? Problem is, if we rely on Government to set this up, are we going to get healthier landscapes and healthier food, more energy efficient homes, or just a big fat bureaucracy reinforcing itself, feeding on the populace, accomplishing little?
Blessings to all good men and their families, this Thanksgiving, this Holiday season. Rejoice in your family, friends and community. Rejoice in the Earth. Remember to smile. Play, especially if you have children. And to those who applied to my add, I'm sorry I couldn't hire you. Best of luck. And like you, I am now unemployed. One of those our Government does not count, because, as a contractor, I can't apply for unemployment benefits. Don't really want such benefits anyway. I don't have a family of my own to provide for. And as far as our Government is concerned, I don't believe it has any sense of what is best for the nation. In fact, I believe it is reinforcing both the ill-health of the Earth and people. Because we, as Americans, don't really know what we want. And if we think we do, we don't really know what it will cost. We have lost our way, and so, our Government has gone wayward, and we are all on a path that can not be sustained.