In a past life, one of my favorite talking points was ‘conservative’ fiscal policy. Really, the whole mindset is the idea that you ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’.1
In that idyllic world, jobs are plentiful, and they exist across the full spectrums of skill and ability. You might start out flippin’ Whoppers, but after some night school, maybe some HVAC training, you get in somewhere, learn your trade, find a mate, have some kids, save money and start a business… You retire, having put 3 kids through school, and they’ll grow up to accomplish more than you did, because you’re a BAMF.
We don’t live in that world. We never have, unless you where white in the sixties or you were in the top half intellectually, or you caught some other random break to combine with having constantly busted your ass.2
The world we live in is as such: We have 5% unemployment.3 38% of the working population does not have a job, and 33% of them have stopped looking at this point. On the bottom half of the spectrum, people are struggling not even so much with low wages, but with an inability to get enough hours to make their wage matter. We have scores of college kids graduating into a situation where they’ve invested $20-$60K into an education that qualifies them to prepare douchey coffee orders. People that take their education even further- say, lawyers, are looking at a job market in which only 45% of them will be able to find a job that utilizes their degree. Our population continues to rise- immigration and natural population growth, but the increased demand is being met by labor that is mostly either overseas or automated.
So, here we are. Time for a thought experiment:
Old me would have said, “You don’t like floppin’ Whoppers? Go get an education and get a real job!” You know why I’m not going to say that, ever again? Because he/she is going to go get that education, come back, and offer to do my job for 10% less than me. And my boss at Faceless Souless Corporation is going to hire that fucker.4
Reality is thus: We have far less labor-hours to be filled than we need for everyone to be gainfully employed at a level that will support them and their dependants. Further, we are likely trending in the wrong direction- we are adding more job seekers faster than we’re adding jobs. If we support traditional, bootstrap-type family economics, we are consigning ourselves to one of two futures- either we ‘out comptete’ each other for the limited number of positions available, selling our labor like a GPX CD player on the counter by the Rite Aid checkout (with 30-50% of the population living a subsistence existence), or we accept that 15-20% of the population is simply going to not have any dependable employment, and will live out their mercifully shorter lives in abject poverty.
For years, we’ve been fine with ‘B’, because we’ve (white people) mostly been able to just move away from the rot of abject poverty. Well, that, or we just blockade the streets. Alas, we’ve reached a point were we’ve fallen far enough that a critical mass of white folks are hurting, so now it’s time to ‘Make America Great Again!’. Poverty is moving to the suburbs at a decent clip.5
Something I hear from a lot of people, when talking about various government programs or proposed programs, “We just can’t afford it!”6 So, here’s my question: Government, and in turn, these programs, are paid for by taxes. Taxes are paid by everyone in the ountry that is making money, and by businesses, and by people that engage in any number of regulated activities (Driving, fishing, having dogs, etc).
Are you telling me that our combined resources are not great enough to provide for all of our people that are in need? If not, what sort of magical thinking allows for those same funds to be enough, if everyone were to magically ‘just get a job’?
So. We’re at an inflection point. Is America really exceptional? It seems to me that an exceptional nation would make sure that everyone could make enough money to live on. Sure, some people are virtually guaranteed to have a job, and a well paid one at that- because they are simply exceptional people. If you’re not exceptional, though- if you’re merely average like most of us are… What is your back-up plan for when that lazy, uneducated person who you told to just buck up… When they do, and they come for your job?