Digby, the blogger on Hullabaloo, pointed to a story about a worker who lost his job and spent a long long time finding another one, one with a drastically reduced wage. The item concludes:
…Everybody sees this, whether they're employed or not. And it's made working people very accommodating. Being scared you might never find a decent job again will do that to a person.
It's great for employers, though.
And good for the NY Times for doing this sort of story. If social distance is one of the primary reasons we have have (had?) this huge disconnect between our leaders and the citizens, then stories like this might be helpful. If they never see anyone who has been dealt a blow from this economy at least they might read this and recognize that this isn't an abstraction for millions of people.
I’m wondering whether any of this makes any sense, though. There are several points of view discussed. One is the employed American worker, another is the unemployed, or soon to be unemployed worker, there is the American employer, the American politician, and then there is the New York Times.
I am not sure that employed American workers see these stories about some number of their fellow employed Americans losing their jobs and finding it difficult to find anything else. For one thing, I doubt that American working people spend much time investigating or learning about what is happening with their fellow Americans. The New York Times would like to tell one otherwise
because it is supposedly their duty to talk about the News and what has been happening to Americans. But, there does seem to be a distinction between a story about the fact that some number of Americans have been fired and that most of them have had an impossible time finding any other job, and the story that one would have to give to explain why these people are having such a hard time. People see the numbers but they are confused about the explanations…and that leads them to ignore or avoid looking into the issue. There are a lot of questions about unemployment and people are generally unable to sort these things out for themselves…so they look away. People may be scared about their work, and the possibility that they might lose their job,…but, this is not because they understand well what’s going on that they might experience this kind of calamity.
People know that volcanoes have been blowing up. One did this not too long ago outside Portland Oregon in southern Washington. People don’t know better, so they could be brought to believe that unless they are accommodating to their employers, and agree to reduced wages, for example, they will be destroyed by a volcano that is right now about to explode beneath them. The fact that we do understand a lot about volcanoes and how they work shopuld quell much of our fear about being destroyed at any moment by a volcanic eruption. We just have to get that information and then, we should not be so willing to give up our wages and benefits in a misguided attempt to avert geologic catastrophes. The same problem arises with the economy and what American workers are being lead to believe. Some are being told that they should give up on their wages and benefits because they economy might explode beneath them at any moment. However, like information about volcanoes, these workers would not be so fearful and therefore prone to give up stuff if they were told by papers like the New York Times what was going on in the economy. The NYT is seemingly in cahoots with the employers who are trying to scare an ignorant population into giving up their jobs, their wages, and their benefits, in some attempt to avert economic catastrophes.
Digby here suggests that our politicians are ignorant or oblivious to the pain and suffering experienced by American workers. I suspect that American employers who have been firing workers are not ignorant or oblivious to the pain and suffering they have caused by their firings, nor is the NYT either ignorant or oblivious, and so too, the politicians cannot at this point be ignorant or oblivious. People are being fired when there is the unsurprising expectation that there are no comparable jobs available to them. This is not something of which politicians are unaware.
So, the problem isn’t that politicians think unemployment isn’t real, or doesn’t hurt. Reading another story about a guy who has been hamburgered in the American meat-grinder isn’t going to bring anyone around, I’d say.
The problem, rather, is that you got to break some eggs if you’re going to make an omelet. This is what the people in charge think they are doing, making an omelet. And, well, some people are going to get hurt in the process.
This is why you don’t go blabbering about how things work to the eggs. That would make them think about ways to protect themselves. They also might wonder how it is that some people are not sharing in the pain and suffering of making breakfast.
Why are the workers being the eggs that need to be broken and smashed up to be made into these omelets? And why are there “people in charge” who are seemingly going to benefit from the omelet that is being made?