Lazy workers? No incentive?
David the GnomeParticipant
- Total Posts: 3,033
I find this narrative to be beyond ridiculous – and I generally find that those carrying on about it are comfortable. They aren’t, generally speaking, hungry or poor. They aren’t wondering where their next meal will come from, they aren’t stressing about rent or mortgage payments. And, well,
The article from 2020 (and no doubt, several others you can find on google) indicates that Americans work longer hours than (as far as I know) our European allies. Yet – and lets be clear here: the majority of our European allies have single payer, universal healthcare. They have working welfare systems – even genuine (some of them) programs that actually pay for higher education without driving their students into decades of debt. Better infrastructure, better education. While this varies to some degree, they typically also have paid maternity and/or family leave. In America, we can take advantage of the family medical leave act – which guarantees (I think) our jobs for a time – but pays nothing.
Now there are various “welfare” and disability programs in America. As a beneficiary of SSI (social security “stipend” or some such thing – about 793 a month or so) I can say with authority that it is… not what most would call generous. You are looking at, easily, two years of struggle, paperwork, medical appointments, rejections and appeals – and often, usually, a final appointment with a judge to tell you whether or not your life is worth less than 800 bucks a month. You “win” after all that? You become eligible for a variety of benefits. In particular, medicaid and/or medicare, Mainecare, as they call it up here. It covers a variety of services – and is referred to by some as “the best health insurance money can’t buy”.
I’ve worked in hospitality, in retail, in construction, I’ve been a gopher/go-fer (dude who grabs things for carpenters, etc.), I’ve been a telemarketer, dishwasher, waiter, bartender. I’ve done plenty of under the table work for farmers – and odd jobs for people who simply didn’t want to, or couldn’t afford to pay minimum wage. Do you know what I learned from all of this? It doesn’t pay to work hard. It might pay to work smart. I remember Sunday shifts at a convenience store/gas station. Fifteen hours on my feet on a concrete floor. Might have had something to do with how my back got screwed up. Never had much for health benefits – certainly couldn’t afford dental, so my teeth got screwed up. Couldn’t afford regular healthy meals, so I survived largely on starches, processed foods, or, when I was lucky, a home cooked meal with my parents.
I spent almost a full year at university, couldn’t find work – and ended up over ten thousand dollars in debt, with little hope of repaying it, ever. My situation became so financially desperate that I broke down and cried when my Father took me grocery shopping. I started cutting classes, getting severely depressed and anxious… and do you know what? Support services, such as they were, were completely inadequate. Especially due to the lack of health insurance.
All of these things, combined with a lengthy psych diagnosis, eventually won me the “793 dollar a month lottery”. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for it. It is a lot better than having nothing. I had been in a situation for quite some time where I had nothing beyond the clothes on my back and the charity of family to keep me alive. Without them, I’d have been screwed many times over. Even the local homeless shelters in this area – will generally not take anyone with any kind of mental health issue.
They want me to go back. Several months from now, there will be a “three year review” to determine whether or not I remain disabled, whether or not I qualify for longer term disability. Thanks to my current government healthcare service, I currently have a general physician, therapist, psychiatric nurse practitioner (to manage meds) and most recently a new case worker. All of these are good people who have done what they can to help me, but are limited in what they can do, in their amount of time – and overwhelmed both by patient numbers and by the insane amount of regulation as to what they are allowed and not allowed to do to help people.
In a case where you’re paying for it? Say, the not uncommon deductible of 5-10 K? Getting the bill could easily make you cry. It isn’t because these people are greedy or wicked. It is largely the insurance companies, the corporations, big pharma and so on and so forth, that end up fucking you. With my medicaid, my prescriptions are 3 dollars each (I have four that I have to pick up monthly). Without it? They range from (depending on the pharmacy and available programs) 18 dollars to as high as 300.
Cancer medications, insulin, so many things in that regard, cost in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month. All of this is in addition to the premiums you pay for the “privilege” of having health insurance.
Finally… in a good month, I made maybe (at max) 1000-1200 dollars after taxes. I did not have many good months. Whether part time or full time – part time the pay was typically closer to around 500 a month. 600 if I managed to get more hours in.
Now, some have described me as lazy, at one time or another. I have even called myself so when feeling particularly low. Yet that really isn’t the case. I’ve proven that I can work long hours for crappy pay the same as most Americans. I’ve proven that I have that lack of self respect and self love, enough to convince me to work for people who treat me as less than garbage. Everyone tells you – go to school, get a real job. Here is the thing though… they may as well be telling you to poke your eyes with needles, or take a nap on a hot bed of coals. Metaphorically speaking.
Its bull shit. The whole system is bull shit. We, the unwashed masses, the peasants, the working class, are expected to do ever more for less. Longer hours, harder work shared among fewer employees. Poor benefits, if any. Low pay – and yes, I would say to some fellow Mainers – 12 dollars an hour is still not a living wage.
Time for a better deal. Time to make rich assholes like Musk, Bezos, Gates, the Waltons, the politicians and every other fuck living on American soil… pay up or shutup. No, the problem isn’t the meagre unemployment bonus. No, the problem isn’t that it pays people “not to work”. It provides them insufficient funds to pay rent, groceries, car payments, etc. So they aren’t living the high life – they aren’t turning down good jobs because 1200 bucks is so much fucking money.
They’re exhausted. They’re scared of covid19, they are frustrated, they are depressed… and do you know what? Somehow, amazingly, they do not trust most employers, politicians, or the various people calling them lazy and demanding they return to minimum wage jobs.
Strange. Weird. What a bunch of ungrateful assholes am I right?
Give me a break. No – don’t. I’ve had a long break and I’ll probably have more. The good news is that, in order to get that, all you have to do is break your mind and body sufficiently enough to be considered disabled.
God bless my fellow Americans – but take your “lazy” stuff and shove it.
May 11, 2021 at 1:16 PM #422698Hobbit709Participant
- Total Posts: 2,403
I will be using my walking stick as a WHOMPING stick on them.
I don't waste my time teaching pigs to sing.
May 11, 2021 at 2:44 PM #422727
May 11, 2021 at 1:26 PM #422701David the GnomeParticipant
- Total Posts: 3,033
Unfortunately, one of the clowns that keeps repeating it to me is my sister. Weirdly, she has a master’s degree and has been a public school teacher for decades – has worked for ACAP (offers services that help the poor pay for fuel, electricity, etc.) and really, really ought to know better. Yet, she would say she worked her ass off to pay her student loan debt (still considerable, I think) and never got any real breaks… so why should anyone else?
It is absurd that some well educated, intelligent people say things this stupid. My thoughts are “Well, honey, you got screwed. Your whole generation got screwed. Mine is getting screwed even harder – yet you call us entitled and lazy – even though we’re working more hours for less money”.
I don’t know. I don’t know how so many people are convinced that 1200 dollars a month is fucking “cushy” or something. Nope. I get less than 800 a month, which also isn’t cushy, but I’m close enough to understand just how far that income goes – it used to be roughly my full time working income (after taxes).
So maybe, in addition to the bonus, people get another few hundred bucks. The thing is? It still isn’t enough. Not to afford the bills (generally speaking) in any state in the union. Minimum wage workers cannot pay average rent unless they work something like 90-100 hours a week.
I mean, shit. Call me lazy, but I think its insane to have to work 90 hours a week for a studio apartment.
May 11, 2021 at 3:15 PM #422731Ohio BarbarianModerator
- Total Posts: 20,590
Not to mention what her almost certainly better than your living standards will do to that same perspective. Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a long way in his moccasins comes to mind.
Especially with family.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton
May 11, 2021 at 3:26 PM #422734closeupreadyParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,318
And I think the advice I would give would be ‘start a business of your own.’ Rather than, ‘get a job.’
What happened, happened, and at the time, I made the best decision for myself, for most of my decisions. But in hindsight, there were a lot of decisions I made that were right for others, but not ultimately for me. The decisions which I made from which others attempted to talk me down, were some of the BEST decisions I made. Oh well.
The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.
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