Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jobs stop bullets

If these young adults had a job to go to every day they wouldn't be robbing convenience stores and/or selling drugs.  If large corporations paid a living wage to full time employees the tax burden on the rest of us would be a great deal less.  If Americans were willing to do jobs that required hard work we wouldn't need to import so many Hispanics to do those jobs.  That is a lot of "ifs" and if is such a small word.

A job is very important to our identity.  It is often the first question we ask when we meet someone new.  "So what do you do?"   We are asking about the person's job.  Mostly people respond with the job title or job function, or admit they are between jobs.  Generally people do not announce they are law breakers.  But in order to have a job the employee must have a skill that contributes to the employer's bottom line.  Businesses are money making organizations.   Employees need to know how to do something.  A business is not going to hire someone just because that person would like to work.  Unfortunately our schools are not teaching kids how to earn a living.  We are testing people on algebra skills.   How many of us use algebra on our jobs?   We are testing people on English skills.  That is important but we are not testing on the language skills that are needed in the workplace.  Those would be speaking skills and the ability to make an argument in writing. Even with all this testing, the majority of 4th graders are not reading on grade level.   We are NOT testing people on soft job skills such as showing up on time, responding to supervision, having good attendance.

Corporations are getting by with paying full time workers the minimum wage.  But you cannot support a family on the minimum wage.  Consequently, full time working families are using food stamps, medicaid and income tax credits.  That means the rest of us taxpayers are subsidizing Walmart, McDonalds and Home Depot.  I, for one, don't want to do that.  These companies make huge profits, they need to pay their workers before they pay the top brass and the stockholders.  Recently some corporations have announce hourly rate increases to $9 or $10 per hour.  That comes out to about $20,000 per year at $10 an hour for 50 weeks, at 40 hours per week.  A family cannot live on that.  We need to make everyone, including our legislators, understand that these safety nets are really subsidies for big business.  A decent living wage would attract more people to these jobs and save the rest of us a great deal in taxes.

Then there is the other issue of hard work.  People who run farms, landscaping businesses, poultry or seafood processing plants- all complain that Americans will not do this hard work even for $16 an hour.  The business owners want to import seasonal workers from Mexico who are willing to come to this country and do this work for the season and then return to their native country. But our Congress and the Immigration Department are preventing these workers from coming here under the guise of saving jobs for U.S. residents.  Except that U.S citizens don't seem to want these jobs and the safety nets are making sure they do not need to take them to survive.

Jobs stop bullets, but the situation is not all that simple.  There are so many ifs...

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