August 18, 2014


Lousy Work: Will it Break Through as a Political Issue?

Of course a look at the unemployment crisis won't break through as a serious issue in the next presidential election. Republicans always favor employers (the few) instead of employees (the vast majority) and Obama has been a failure, too. The actual percentage of unemployed may have dropped under Obama, but this is partly due to part-time jobs, disguising permanent jobs as temps to avoid paying benefits, working more at jobs we already have for less $ and the fact that the percentage dropped because so many have given up looking for work. Permanently. Until they die penniless. Others have given up hopes of retiring and will literally work themselves (ourselves) into the grave.

This article ends asking if Hillary will address unemployment seriously. Dream on. We'll be too busy being shocked by MSNBC criticizing what Fox reported on and vice versa to actually hit upon the actual issues that affect our lives. Just let a GOP politician talk bring up Bill Clinton's affairs as ammunition against Hillary and that low blow will dominate the news for a week. Not the realities of unemployment. Just as republicans brayed about jobs, jobs, jobs during the election and focused on abortions, abortions, abortions after they won, here's the author of this article's assessment of Obama's record up until now.

"After six years of prodding from a labor movement for which President Obama delivered precious little, the president at last began issuing executive orders requiring government contractors to be minimally decent employers."

This author also hits upon a hideous trend I never knew existed--that some of us with jobs aren't sure exactly how many hours we'll be getting. I sure wish our landlords were that flexible!

"The Times addressed the fact that it's becoming normal for workers not to know their schedules more than a few days in advance. The lead piece shamed Starbucks, which prides itself on being a good employer, to enforce its own nominal policy of giving employees decent notice of the hours they are expected to work.

The Times' Sunday article addressed the increasing number of workers in the so called "sharing economy" -- the Task Rabbits and people who offer cut-rate rides via Uber and Lyft, and dozens more web chore-matching services. The dirty little secret of the vaunted flexibility is that you can't make a living at it, or have enough predictability in your life to raise a family.

The shift in labor markets, from an economy where regular payroll employment is the norm, to one where more of us are performing odd jobs, or have regular jobs with indeterminate schedules, ought to be the top domestic political issue. There should be an emergent political consciousness that regular people are getting screwed solely so that greater profits can go to corporations, executive, and private equity speculators."