Category Archives: Employment

9% Unemployment – Just a Good Beginning

In case it wasn’t already blindingly apparent to what’s left of the America’s middle-class, the ‘Thuglican establishment has no interest in job creation. Oh they may roll out the platitudes, like the GOP hopefuls did in this evening’s 10th primary season echo-chamber. They may hyperventilate about how we need to unshackle American business, reducing already absurdly low taxes, in order to secure a promise of new jobs—jobs that we know from experience will never be created.

But look at the rhetoric: Mitt Romney wants to do away with another 500,000 government jobs…on top of the 600,000 that have already been lost during this recession. Mitch McConnell has admitted that GOP priority #1 is defeating President Obama, and in service of that goal you can bet that no action on job creation is going to make it out of the Senate. Of course, the House has made it abundantly clear that they’re not interested in jobs either, since not a single bill has been proposed that actually has a chance of creating a single job.

So it’s time to accept that as long as the GOP has a hand on the levers of power, the job situation in this country will continue to deteriorate. And why? Because that’s the way American business, as well as the multi-nationals that really control the GOP (Democrats as well), want things!!! Do you think 9% unemployment is a tragedy? Well…me too, but I
guaran-f*cking-tee that the attitude of Chase, or Cargill, or Microsoft is, “WHOOPEE!”

9% unemployment and a climate where there is only a single job for every 4 job seekers is a climate in which everyone is hungry—a climate where workers can’t afford to quibble about how many hours they’re working and how much they’re not getting paid. It’s an environment where benefits can be cut, salaries can be slashed, unions can be eliminated, and workers can’t do a damn thing about it because who can afford to risk getting fired when no one can count on ever being employed again.

9% unemployment is not a disgrace, not temporary, and certainly not something that government wants to fix. It’s just a good beginning.

Why California Sucks

I have an admission, the Frogette and I took a lot of cr*p from our friends, family, and colleagues when we decided to leave California. But the plain fact is, after 14 years, we were fed up with California dysfunction, jobs in San Francisco had dried up, and remaining would have probably involved moving down the peninsula for work.

With that in mind I present to you an unrenovated, 3 bedroom sh*tbox, in a bad section of San Mateo, not near anything that matters, painted powder-blue for god sake, with a concrete front yard, and a backyard of…well…dirt. And this tired example of the American Dream goes for a modest $950K!!!

Need I say more?

To This We Have Been Reduced – Your Dead-end Disposable Job

The Detroit public schools have teamed up with that foremost purveyor of low-wage, low-esteem, dead-end employment, Walmart, to offer a for-credit course in ‘job readiness’ that includes entry-level service-sector employment.

Now… In a city where the unemployment rate is estimated to be an astonishing 50%, you might think that any job, even a job at Walmart is an attractive proposition. But two questions arise: First, is this the way we should be spending scarce public school dollars, on training for what is essentially ‘disposable’ employment? Second, why-the-f*ck does Walmart get to shift the training burden (such as it is) onto the public? Isn’t this just another government give-away to a company that already makes a big chunk of its enormous profits by squeezing its workers?

Or…perhaps this is just an acknowledgment of the new reality of employment in the US—disposable jobs, disposable workers, and the fact that education is no longer a guarantee of stability and success.

<< Previous  To This We Have Been Reduced

South Carolina wins 2nd production line – “They threw everything at Santa” -Mrs. Claus

The fierce competition to determine the site of a second North Pole production line has been won by South Carolina.

The announcement was made yesterday by Northex, the North Pole’s Oslo-based holding company that also owns Kris Kringle Worldwide and Rudolph Organic Compost.

“South Carolina has shown us it offers the best business and labor climate for our expanded operations,” said Angelina Claus, Northex CFO and wife of Santa Claus for 371 years. “Also, they threw everything at Santa in terms of tax breaks and other incentives” to build the new toy factory in the Palmetto State, she said.

South Carolina officials, decked out in pointed slippers, velvet breeches, belled hats, and other gay apparel, gathered in the state capitol of Columbia for celebrations that stretched late into the night. “South Carolina puts the SC in ‘Santa Claus’ — and ‘Christmas,’ now that you mention it,” said a jubilant Gov. Mark Sanford.

It was Sanford’s personal, secret negotiation of a trade pact in Argentina earlier this year that sealed the deal. Now having a physical corporate presence in South Carolina gives Claus an opening into the lucrative Argentinian toy market currently, controlled by competitor Father Christmas.

Other incentives committed by the state include tax exemptions on in-state purchase of reindeer fuel and gift wrap, and a waiver of environmental regulations for Santa’s capital projects. In addition to the new assembly plant in Charleston, Santa also has plans for a three-runway sleighport and a new project for his Nat King Coal division, which would be the world’s largest open pit mine.

Barbie’s Dreamliner
Behind schedule

Santa Claus went looking for a new production site earlier this year after negotiations with the elf union, the Arctic Federation of Labor, broke down over the AFL’s refusal to agree to a no work stoppages deal. Santa had demanded the provision after stoppages caused expensive delays in the Barbie’s Dreamliner program.

State House Speaker Bobby Harrell summed up the state’s victory: “Today, South Carolina kicked the asses of a bunch of greedy little elves.”

In contrast, the decision has touched off a firestorm north of Canada.

“Christmas is ruined,” said Elf spokesman Gruffudd Greenbuckle said, and went on to say that work stoppages were a phony issue.

“Periodically elves have to perform a little dance, while singing merry toybuilding worksongs. It’s in our DNA, and it only takes about a minute at the top of every hour, everyone knows this,” said Greenbuckle.

“Santa used it as an excuse to betray our centuries of loyalty, and is blatantly cutting costs at the expense of the little guy,” said the three foot tall Greenbuckle. “Health insurance reform with a strong public option would do more to lower costs,” he said.

Stole Democrats’ 60th vote

Greenbuckle and other elf leaders are calling upon federal lawmakers to intercede. “Keep the North Pole at the North Pole, we say ‘let’s stay together’,” Pole City Mayor Holly Mistletoe wrote in an e-mail to Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), chairman of the House Oversight of Holiday Observances Committee (HOHO Committee). A spokesman for Green said his committee would take up the issue after the holiday recess.

However, elf assistance legislation is a non-starter in the Senate, according to Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman-CT).

“Christmas, shmistmas. The North Pole is an axis, with elves whose union supports the public option. Protecting America from this axis of elf evil is my top priority,” Lieberman said.

Mayor Nickels cuts pork – Rachel The Pig victim of Seattle budget cuts

Rachel and fans - In happier times
Rachel and fans - In happier times

Saying the economic downturn requires tough choices, Seattle mayor Greg Nickels said Pike Place Market municipal ambassador Rachel The Pig would be laid off as part of an effort to cut fat from the city budget. Rachel’s layoff, one of 30, was effective April 19.

“Unfortunately, a projected $24 million falloff in real estate tax collections means the city cannot afford to carry needless pork in the budget,” Nickels explained

“Therefore we have no choice but to cut Rachel’s position, as well as one-week closures of Seattle Public Libraries — which carry DVDs of “Babe” and the book Charlotte’s Web,” he said.

Nickels said that while he regrets the budget cuts, the reductions guarantee full funding for the #1 issue facing Seattle: purchasing a stockpile of road salt for next winter. “I wish we could keep everything, but Seattle doesn’t have a salt pork program. Although that would be delicious,” said the mayor.

Nickelseattlesgreenmayor - Gets seismic upgrade
Nickelseattlesgreenmayor - No seismic upgrade

Nickels said he is making sacrifices too. “I am postponing $1.4 million in planned seismic upgrades to my Herman Miller office chair,” Nickels said.

Saddened supporters of Rachel gathered today at the now empty spot under the Pike Place Market clock, where Rachel posed for tourist photos for 22 years, and served as a rendezvous point for couples meeting through Seattle Weekly personals ads. Rachel fan Sven Ballard said the bronze pig will be missed, but preferred to think of her departure as a much-deserved retirement.

“Rachel worked so hard for so long. The mayor’s staff has assured us Rachel is now living on a farm somewhere near Stanwood. There she can enjoy the clean country air, has lots of room to run, and is able to play with other pig sculptures,” Ballard said.

No iNews this week
Legislature averts disaster – Almost forgot to f@#k education

Govs gone wild?

The bailout frenzy has finally become just plain ridiculous. It came out on that Larry Flynt the Hustler magnet and Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild fame have asked for a “Porn Bailout”. That’s right. Apparently there has been a ‘downturn’ in viewers of elicit online material. Personally I blame the internet. I mean why pay for the cow when you get the milk for free? Or as we girls like to say, why buy the whole pig when all you want is a little sausage?

Practical Solutions to America’s Problems

Blackwater – We unleashed them in the Gulf only to discover that they fire on innocent civilians, rape their own employees and generally create mayhem. Solution: Drop them in Ciudad Juarez or Tijuana, and let them deal with the drug gangs that are turning Mexico into a shooting gallery.

The S.E.C.They’re sorry for not doing their job overseeing Wall Street (crash and burn) and that now infamous ponzi scheme (Madoff). Well sorry doesn’t cut it. I say fire the lot and replace them with out of work United Auto Workers.

Dick Cheney – The self-admitted “Torturer in Chief” is about to find himself out of a job. So what’s next for our ex-Veep? How about president of the N.R.A.? He could follow in the great Charlton Heston’s footsteps. Just don’t let him bring a gun to any meetings.

CitiGroup/Bank of America – Let’s solve the credit crunch, executive pay, and retail sales issues in one throw. From now on all banking executives will receive their compensation in the form of Mastercard/Visa gift cards issued by their employers.

Bush delays retirement – Obama nominates 43 to be Object Lesson

Anyone worried about what outgoing President George W. Bush will do after leaving office can relax today, with the announcement that President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Bush to the position of Object Lesson in the Obama Administration.

A new Cabinet-level position, Bush’s primary role as Object Lesson is to be on hand to serve as a reminder to members of the new administration of what not to do.

The job is ideally suited to Bush, said outgoing press secretary Dana Perino. She has been tabbed to be Object Lesson Chief of Staff.

“As Object Lesson, President Bush will hang around the White House. When it comes to Cabinet meetings, he’ll sit quietly to one side and listen, which is what he does now,” Perino explained.

“But when a decisionmaking situation arises, President Obama will turn to President Bush for advice, and do the opposite of that advice. It’s a necessary governing function,” Perino said.

“President Bush was the only person we considered for this job,” President-elect Obama said today.

“As far as anti-barometers go, his record is unerring as far as doing the opposite of the right thing, whether the issue is national security, disaster relief, or the economy. It’s almost scary,” Obama said.

Bush told reporters that he is eager to start his new position. “I’m really lookin’ forward to continuin’ to be of service to the country,” said Bush.

“Besides, my 401k took it in the shorts this year and I can’t really afford to retire.”

Notes from the Transition – Americans adjust to life with Obama

The election of Barack Obama means change is coming. But what kind of change? In this series we check in with individuals and communities across America, and ask them: What has already changed since November 4? What changes are you still looking forward to, and how are you getting ready?

Part 1 in a series

(Anchorage) The 2008 election proved to be a boon for the Alaska economy, with 50,000 new construction jobs created at the home of Senator Ted Stevens. “Business has never been better,” said unlicensed plumbing contractor Moe Murzelshmacher. “And it turns out I’ll get a tax cut next year, even though I’m going to be making $75,000,” he said.
      “Change is pretty sweet,” Murzelshmacher said.

(San Anselmo, CA) Sam Rafael was shocked when his wife of 15 years filed for divorce on November 12. “I thought the passage of Proposition 8 was supposed to protect our traditional marriage,” says a bewildered Rafael, 46, a country club manager.
      “I should have just stayed home on election day. Change is so gay,” Rafael said.

Rossi, wearing official badge of office

(Seattle) Dino Rossi is preparing for his second term as Washington State Shadow Governor. It is a ceremonial position that mostly involves being foodtaster for Governor Chris Gregoire, and filling in for her at ribbon cuttings and elementary school play premieres. After four years he is nearly comfortable with The Beatles’ “I’m a Loser” being played whenever he appears at an official function. In his spare time Rossi hangs around pharmacies challenging birth control prescriptions, and is writing an outline for a planned second book. It will be sold through a new foundation to benefit his next unsuccessful run for Governor.

(Wasilla) Sarah Palin, a stay at home governor, is hoping an Obama presidency will be an era of professional development for herself. Palin is planning to use the next four years getting more government experience, telecommuting to Juneau from a home in Washington, DC. She’ll be able to see the Capitol from the six bedroom colonial, Palin says, which will give her Congressional experience.

The US – Where Retirement Is a Leap of Faith

I like to flatter myself with the notion that Ragebot has some non-US readers. And so it may come as a surprise that retirement fills many of us here in Bush’s “Ownership Society” with a certain sense of dread. Though we have a quaint, quasi-state sponsored system know as Social Security, the plain fact is that, for any of us beyond the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, Social Security probably won’t be around. Moreover, the kind of comprehensive, ‘defined-benefit’ retirement plan (what most people would call a ‘pension’) is exceedingly rare in the US these days. All that’s left are ‘defined contribution’ plans that allow most, but not all, of us to save for our own retirement tax-free. If we fail to put away the money or make poor investment choices, well…that’s our own problem.

But here’s the thing, access to decent retirement savings plan in this free-market paradise depends largely on the what kind of worker you are. Are you a company man…company woman? Well then you probably get to take advantage of a 401K or 403B that allows you to sequester around $15,000/year of your income pre-tax. In other words, your retirement dollars are not taxed by the Feds and investment gains grow tax-deferred. Your company may even provide matching funds as a benefit.

But…if your self employed, a part-time worker, seasonal employee, contract employee, or work for a small business, all you get is a paltry $5000 yearly contribution to an individual retirement account.

Where’s the god-damned equity in that?

This country supposedly values entrepreneurial spirit. Yet when it comes to planning for retirement, our government says: “You want to go it alone? Well then you better be successful, cause we’re going to screw you.” Should we find that strange? Not really. Though the United States was supposedly built on the notion of individualism, what we see today is corporatism given preference at every level of government—from tax policies to environmental regulation—and the real irony is that the broad, stable job base that once bolstered an expanding middle-class has been sacrificed in favor of a small core of financial service jobs that benefit (and benefit greatly) a very small slice of the working populace. So in a not so subtle way our government is saying that the only way to ensure a comfortable retirement is to shackle oneself to a low-pay, low-skill job that, at least, has decent retirement benefits.

Sort of like religion, huh? Sacrifice now for the chance of comfort later.