Article 43

 

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Take This Job And Shove It

image: wind up workers

[L]ivery car driver Douglas Schifter killed himself outside the gates of City Hall, after writing in a suicide note posted to Facebook, “I will not be a slave working for chump change. I would rather be dead.”
- Democracy Now, March 22, 2018

(American economics is so badly wrong that it says absurd, bizarre, hilarious things like: the economy’s booming!! at the precise moment that life expectancy is cratering, suicide and depression are skyrocketing, young people can’t afford to start families, old people can’t afford to retire, and average incomes have barely budged for half a century. LOL So when people living shorter, unhappier, grimmer, poorer lives, to the point that they kill themselves in despair, have become a “booming economy,” then, my friends, a theory of dunces has replaced reality with a grotesque and backwards illusion. The earth isn’t flat - though American economics would like us all to believe it is, in a weirdly Soviet twist.)
- Looking to 2019

I am single, 64, getting Social Security and working whatever jobs I can find that pay the bills. I’m finally in a job I like now, but it has taken years to get to this place. During those years, I worked in factories, in retail and at a gas station, and I did home care. You name it, and I’ve done it. I’m tired of job hopping to survive.
- Anita

Most of the women (and men) I worked with who suffered a similar fate never seemed to quite get back to where they were even though they worked as hard as I did and even in the booming tech market. And I pretty much expect every day that this could happen to me again, no matter how hard I work or how many points I put on the board. The worst part is the isolation. This is the first time I have ever let on how bad it was (is), and it still feels extremely risky to do so in a valley rife with swagger.
-J

This happened to me in my 40s, and it took me a good 10 years to get back to a normal wage. It took periods of working three jobs at crummy wages and doing whatever I had to do to keep going. The truth is, your friends don’t notice the struggle, because they fear it will happen to them. Decide who your genuine friends are, and come clean to them. If nothing else, it will help to talk about it and frees you up from pretending. This is more widespread than most people think.
- Linda

And exhorting us to simply save more without telling us how to do it doesn’t help us either. I went with my sister to one of those financial-planning seminars and had to leave the room a few times because I was so upset by what I was hearing. It was just so sobering. I have no savings. The planner kept talking about putting 30 percent of your assets into this or that thing. Well, 30 percent of zero is zero. 
- Chris
- Boomers Burned By Recession Part 8

---

I can understand where all these people are coming from.  LOOKING BACK at my own fall from happy middle-class American, to long-term unemployed/underemployed poor - the way I look at cheap low-wage temp jobs changed dramatically.

Before LOOSING HOPE OF LIVING OUT OLD AGE with a little peace and dignity, I’d DO ANYTHING TO MAKE A FEW BUCKS, which meant taking short-term minimum wage temp jobs, even if for one night sweeping floors for the janitor that called in sick that day - and come home with a check for $20.

TODAY I feel like an enabler of a SYSTEM that EXPLOITS WORKERS, and REWARDS CORPORATE GREED.

Slavery in the U.S. may be illegal - but these crappy temp jobs that pay near nothing seem pretty close.

I guess that’s the PROCESS of middle-class turned POOR.  Kind of like the STAGES OF GRIEF. It starts with a sort of denial that translates to HOPE, moves through resentment (anger) of DEAD-END, low-pay jobs that wears you out while spiraling down a financial hole, and ends in ACCEPTANCE meaning SUICIDE, or living in POVERTY.

I’m guessing some BOOMERS that got the same BAD LUCK as me - FEEL THE SAME.

Elvis/Ed

---

The Silent Exodus Nobody Sees: Leaving Work Forever
The “take this job and shove it” exodus is silently gathering momentum.

By Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds
September 23, 2020

The exodus out of cities is getting a lot of attention, but the exodus that will unravel our economic and social orders is getting zero attention: the exodus from work. Like the exodus from troubled urban cores, the exodus from work has long-term, complex causes that the pandemic has accelerated.

These are the core drivers of the exodus from work.

1. Labor’s share of the economy has been in multi-decade decline. It’s easy to blame globalization and/or automation--and it’s true that the decline in labor’s share accelerated from 2000 on. But this trend began around 1970, long before China joined the World Trade Organization and the advent of “software eating the world.”

image: fred wage decline over the last 50 years

2. While it’s convenient for those reaping the big gains to blame globalization and/or automation, the real driver was financialization - the neoliberal move to deregulate finance so it could turn everything into an exploitable “market” that could be made to serve one master: shareholder value, the innocuous-sounding code-phrase for anything goes and winner takes most--if you’re rich.

image: fred inequality by income last 40 years

Shareholder value was the super-wealthy’s self-serving justification for unlimited greed as corporations went from being enterprises serving communities, the national interest, employees, customers and shareholders to financialization machines whose sole purpose was enriching insiders via loading the company with debt to pay huge bonuses to top managers, stock buybacks funded by debt, the abandonment of trustworthy accounting principles and so on.

Financialization and the deification of shareholder value sluiced all the gains into the hands of the few at the top at the expense of the many. As the chart below indicates, the top 0.1% enjoyed income gains of around 350% since 1979 while the bottom 90% barely topped 20%--a number that would be sharply negative if real-world inflation were included.

Simply put, the bottom 90%--wage-earners--lost ground over the past four decades of financialization while the wealthy winners of financialization became super-wealthy. The rewards of labor/work have diminished to an extraordinary degree for the bottom 90%, and even the 91% - 99% bracket has found their labor has mostly served to enrich those above them.

These trends will drive both the top wage-earners and the bottom wage earners out of the workforce. The managerial class that keeps the whole machine glued together can either retire or use their human and financial capital to find other less stressful ways to make a living and downsize their expenses to match their reduced income.

Some will be voluntary, many will be involuntary, but the results will be the same: a mass exodus of hard-to-replace skilled workers. This is what I’m calling the take this job and shove it exodus.

Once the Federal Reserve starts sending “free money” directly to households, many at the bottom of the pay scale will realize they too can take this job and shove it.

In Unprecedented Monetary Overhaul, The Fed Is Preparing To Deposit “Digital Dollars” Directly To “Each American” (Zero Hedge)

‘I cry before work’: US essential workers burned out amid pandemic Essential workers reported stress caused by increased workloads, understaffing, fears over Covid and struggles in enforcing social distancing. (The Guardian)

What few well-paid apologists seem to realize is that to equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage I earned in 1970 ($1.65/hour), the minimum wage would have to be close to $20/hour now. The absurdly under-reported rate of official inflation (the Consumer Price Index) claims that a minimum wage of $12/hour now equals the purchasing power of $1.65/hour in 1970, but since I’ve kept records of all expenses I can report that this is totally false.

Wages’ share of the economy has been in a relentless 50-year slide. The entire machinery of inflation calculation has been driven by the desperate need to mask the true collapse of the purchasing power of wages.

Once the workforce awakens to this, the silent exodus out of the workforce will gather into a flood tide. Permanent unemployment payments, Universal Basic Income (UBI), free Fed money--regardless of the program or name, these will enable a mass exodus of those at the bottom of the workforce pay scale while burnout will also decimate the ranks of essential managerial / skilled workers.

It’s payback time, people. Hey, Financial Aristocracy, clean your own floors and slaughter your own meat. Hey, corrupt politicos and apparatchiks, wipe your own tables and watch your own brats. The take this job and shove it exodus is silently gathering momentum.

The Protected Class of pundits, technocrats, flunkies, toadies and enforcers believes the take this job and shove it exodus is “impossible”, just as everyone believed the Titanic was unsinkable. Just as the Titanic sinking went from “impossible” to inevitable, so will the take this job and shove it exodus move from “impossible” to inevitable.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/07/20 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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