The Government is Making Men Lazy

By on 2.6.14 | 1:22PM

If you are a man between the ages of 24 to 54, there's a one-in-six chance that you're jobless.

That disheartening figure comes from The Wall Street Journal. After recovering from the initial shock, one has to wonder: What happened?

Obviously, our fragile economy has accounted for hundreds of thousands of lay-offs and cuts. Most of these men had steady work and lost it. Some suffered injuries or disabilities that landed them on the couch. Some men fear uprooting their family in order to get a new job. Yes, there are a plethora of legitimate circumstances producing unemployed husbands and fathers, and this post is not for them.

On the other hand, for some, sheer laziness has taken its toll:

Finally, Someone Says It: Stop Extending Unemployment Benefits

By on 12.9.13 | 11:12AM

Yesterday, on Fox News Sunday, Senator (and likely presidential hopeful) Rand Paul (R-KY) came out against further extension of unemployment benefits, saying that ongoing extensions do a "disservice" to workers. Yes, they do that, as well as offering a disservice to taxpayers.

But in an era where Republicans are so desperate not to seem "mean" that they too often act like "Democrats-lite," this direct opposition to never-ending unemployment benefits is a breath of fresh air.

Sen. Paul pointed out that incenvitizing people to be unemployed for a longer time causes them to become less desirable as employees (as people who have been out of work for longer, and thus further out of touch with business, technology, or just a work ethic.)

Another Perspective

The End of Jobs

By 10.25.13

In the early days of the Industrial Revolution a number of English textile workers saw their livelihoods replaced by automated machines. Faced with joblessness, poverty, and starvation the group, calling itself the Luddites, protested by writing ballads, broadsides and, most notoriously, by destroying a few automated textile looms.

Today, the Luddites are generally seen as wrong-headed and backward technophobes, when in fact they were not anti-technology, but, in the words of Ronnie Bray, “anti-starvation.” Suffice it to say, that had automation delivered on its promise to maintain or create jobs, at least in the short term, there would have been no Luddite backlash.

The Luddites are invoked each time some Cassandra questions the wisdom of the direction of our ongoing hi-tech revolution. Such revolutions, it is believed, are good for society and economies. The old jobs may be going away, but they will be replaced by new ones.

And, indeed, for decades, our leaders have been preaching new mostly minimum wage service sector openings, while we wait for something better to come along. 

Admitting the effects of the Bush tax cuts just to bash them

By on 10.11.11 | 11:48AM

Suzy Khimm of the Washington Post deserves special praise for noting just how much conservatives have done to keep taxes on the poor low (even if it is just to accuse them of hypocrisy). While covering Erick Erickson's "I am the 53 percent" rebuttal to the Occupy Wall Street "I am the 99 percent" cry, she writes that the logic is flawed:

But there is some tension between the site's critique and conservative tax policy. Part of the reason that over 40 percent of Americans don't pay taxes is because of the continual push to lower them - a cause that conservatives have championed. For example, while the Bush-era tax cuts benefited the wealthy, they also lowered taxes at every income level, making it "relatively easy for families of four making $50,000 to eliminate their income tax liability," as the Associated Press notes. Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, similarly, took many lower-income Americans off of the tax rolls, an accomplishment about which the Gipper was quite proud.

Michigan’s Missin’ Ya

By on 12.23.10 | 12:27PM

The Wolverine State received the worst, but not unexpected, news from the Census data released earlier this week. From the New York Times:

While every other state in the nation gained population over the past decade, Michigan shrank. And yet, as word seeped across frozen towns like this one on Wednesday, almost no one seemed even mildly surprised. This was, many here said with resignation, just one last, official confirmation of Michigan's long, grim and gloomy slide.

"We used to enjoy a bit of a strut," said Jerry Becker, a welder, recalling an era when Michigan's automotive powerhouses ruled the world and salaries here felt lavish. "But that's long gone. We all know by now that everybody thinks of Michigan as a bad place to live - a place that doesn't seem to have much of a future."

If any state is ready to be done with the 2000s, it is this one.

Sally Just Sat There Crying

By on 8.9.10 | 9:50AM

Where's the jobs recovery? Private businessman Michael Fleischer, owner of Bogen Communications in New Jersey, explains in the Wall Street Journal why he's not adding personnel by citing the example of one of his long-time employees, "Sally."

Media Mystified as Failure of Obamanomics Becomes Apparent

By on 7.1.10 | 11:53AM

"New claims for state unemployment aid unexpectedly rose last week, heightening fears the U.S. economic recovery is stalling."
-- Reuters, "Surprise Rise in Jobless Claims Stokes Recovery Worries," July 1, 2010

Hmmm. As of noon today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at its lowest point in more than eight months, and an analyst says the latest economic data are "clearly pointing to a double-dip recession."

Granholm: Stay the Course

By on 2.5.10 | 12:56PM

In her final State of the State (yes, it should have been a real S.O.S.) address on Wednesday night, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told her constituents -- suffering under 14.7 percent unemployment -- to just keep on keepin'-on.