Monday, March 30, 2009

Speaking of Corellations...

Went in to a meeting at work today, and people were talking about Europe. Holland came up, and someone threw out that unemployment is 40% there. (update: it really is much lower, and maybe it wasn't Holland -- but it's the conversation that follows that's baffling)

I don't know if that's true. Sounds a little high to me. I do know it's high, but I don't know about that high. But consider the conversation that followed in the room. It went something like this:

"Yeah, it's like, normal for them. They just accept it. It's no big deal."

"Well, at least they have socialized medicine and a lot of social programs."

"Even for anyone who's been there for 6 months."

"Yeah, they take care of their own."
And that didn't give them any pause! What's unemployment here in the USA in economic bad times? Up to 8%, maybe headed to 10%?

I'm quite certain there wasn't high unemployment in Holland, and THEN the government came in and took care of those unemployed, keeping the level steady or making it fall. I'm pretty sure the "taking care of" came first, and unemployment went up subsequently.

Is it really that hard to understand? You make it more expensive to employ people, and make it less expensive (and uncomfortable) to be unemployed ... what are you doing?

You are discouraging employment and encouraging unemployment.

Kind of ties in with this, which I found at Morgan's blog and was floored by (we love Mike Rowe. We gave Dirty Jobs season 1 to our godchildren for Christmas. Perhaps we should follow up with this). You really need to watch the whole thing. It's about 20 minutes.

I grew up milking cows, feeding and butchering chickens, collecting and cleaning eggs, slopping pigs, trapping rabbits — killing and cleaning them, mucking stalls, bucking hay. My brothers and I harvested several acres of corn with large knives and a trailer on the back of a tractor. We cut and split several cords of wood each year to heat our house. I’ve had my arm up to my elbow in the back end of a cow at 2:00 in the morning trying to re-position a breach calf so it could actually be born without killing it’s mom — because the vet’s arms were too big. He was instructing this 15-year-old what to do, and I did it.

I watched my Dad and two brothers build our house, and for two summers I did it myself with another construction crew. The third summer my brother and I built a garage.

I’ve had dirty jobs, and I know what Mike’s talking about here. His revelation is brilliant and timely. Just like “flyover country”, there are “flyover jobs”, and “flyover people” who do them in every state, in every city and township.

I have a “clean” job now, but I remember well what it was like doing the dirty ones, standing on a hot afternoon with sweat pouring off my bare back and sawdust stuck to me everywhere, a bandana around my forehead to keep the sweat out of my eyes — maybe balanced on a wall we’d just put up.

I have respect for each and every one of those people who come in and do their job and take a little pride in it and do it well. I also have no respect for people who stick their noses up at these people like those people are somehow beneath them. They actually piss me off. And it’s not terribly easy to piss me off.

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