Tony Kendall

When the April jobs report came out last month, some people freaked out, especially those in the economic forecasting business and on the political right.

The forecasters were aghast and had no readily available explanation for the low number of jobs created, about 226,000, seeing as how there were more than 8 million available jobs in the country.

Some were expecting the number to be in the high-rent district of a million, not one the low-rent hood of a measly couple hundred thousand.

Right-wing politicians, playing devil’s advocate as they usually do, all claimed not to be surprised by the low number and even had an explanation for why.

According to them, the reason people are not lining up to take these available jobs is because of that extra $300 in unemployment benefits people have being getting during this still-ongoing pandemic.

Take away this extra money, they say, and these people will have no choice but to stop relying on the government to take care of them, get off their lazy butts and go back into the workforce.

Seeing as how at no point in their political history have right-wing conservatives ever been fans or proponents of giving money to or doing anything that might help the lives of those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladders, this revelation came as no surprise.

Remember who gets their taxes cuts and reaps the bulk of other economic benefits when former Republicans and current members of the Trump Political Party are in office? Hint: It isn’t most of us.

In their conservative, right-wing political and probably social worldview, giving economic breaks and benefits to the rich is good, necessary and is called incentives, which allows them to do things that on some level enriches us all.

Giving extended benefits and extra breaks to those less rich only handicaps them, takes away or diminishes their desire to do things for themselves and eventually makes them look to the government to do and provide for them.

The benefits given to those on the lower end of the socio-economic is called welfare and is considered bad.

As many others have said, giving handouts to the haves and not to the have-somes, have-littles and have-nots has long been a conservative tactic.

Politicians realize many of us have a hard time looking at government subsidies given to a large corporate entities, big business or farmer as being welfare.

But we have no trouble in labeling anything given to those at the margins as being welfare, especially when it’s given to a lazy ne’er-do-well whose grocery cart contains more red meat and top-of-the-line products in it than ours.

To their credit, right-wing conservatives have always been good at getting some of us to object to those below or at the same level as us getting something, even when we get the same benefit, like the pandemic payments.

Carrying the baton for this notion that people are content to stay home and draw an unemployment check every two weeks plus another $300 are 25 Trump Party (formerly GOP) governors who pounced on the idea and immediately decided to end the extra unemployment benefits as early as next week, forcing these lazy people to get up from their couches and back to work.

I’m not going to argue that there aren’t some people out there who would rather draw unemployment benefits for as long as they can before attempting to find a job; and I don’t blame them, I would to.

But they do not represent the majority, and everyone, including ones who aren’t eager to return to work, is aware that the extra benefits are going to expire in September.

There is a myriad of reasons why people aren’t lining up to take these jobs, and few of them have anything to do with them being lazy, as right-wingers would have you to believe.

While many things have reopened or are set to reopen soon, schools and childcare centers in some places have not.

This greatly affects women who way to often are responsible for taking care of children regardless of age, especially single women for whom daycare has always been an issue.

Time after time during this pandemic, we were told that people who worked in certain jobs, like fast food restaurants, grocery stores and other places of business that were necessary were essential workers, although their pay wage didn’t reflect that.

Would you be in a hurry to return to a job that probably didn’t or barely paid you a living wage before COVID?

According to economists at Bank of America, anyone who previously made less than $32,000 a year is better off financially in the near-term receiving unemployment benefits.

Study after study has shown wages in this country have not kept pace with inflation for more than 40 years.

There are very few jobs currently in this country on average that are good enough to cover a person’s basic needs, like rent, health care, childcare, food, transportation, education expenses and other essential items.

Another reason why some people aren’t lining up to take these available jobs is that the jobs don’t match their qualifications.

Had I lost or were laid off from my decent-paying job, I doubt I’d be putting in applications at places along Mineral Wells Drive at the moment or take the first available job.

In the big picture, I owe it to my family and the economy as a whole to try to find a job I’m more qualified for and leave those jobs for others.

Employers out there who are bemoaning the fact that they have open positions and no one to fill them have decisions to make: people or more profit?

If you pay them more, they will come. If you don’t, when they do go to work, it will be somewhere else.

Instead of going after the low-hanging reason for why people aren’t taking the available jobs, right-wing conservatives should seriously consider the reasons why people aren’t returning to these jobs and do something to make those jobs more enticing.

Start with raising the minimum wage, permanently subsidizing daycare for working men and women, pass paid family leave, support universal healthcare that isn’t tied to a particular job, and stop deregulating and eliminating workplace safety rules.

About 559,000 jobs were added in May; for most, it was the sign of a steadily improving economy, even though it was about 100,000 fewer jobs than forecasters expected.

Also as expected, the right-wing response has been to double down and get certain people off the public dole.

 

Hi, Momma Lois.

 

TONY KENDALL of Hazel is a writer, teacher, actor, playwright and sports fanatic. He can be reached by email at bottomwriter@yahoo.com.

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