Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On Unemployment

tanner, unemployment, mormon, lds, stupid, asshat,
I'm sick of hearing about the have and have not's
Have some personal accountability
The biggest problem with the way that we've been doing things is
The more we let you have the less that I'll be keeping for me
--Nine Inch Nails, "Capital G"

You can always tell an article on unemployment/poverty written by somebody who has never faced choosing between food and medicine, or heat and the mortgage. Clearly, James Tanner has never sat on the floor and cried because he needed to keep the phone on in order to get calls for job interviews, but that meant not paying the electric bill. Again.

People like this probably shouldn't write articles about how lazy and ungrateful the unemployed are. (At the very least, don't do it where I can see you.)

Most of the article concerns the history of the Mormon church through the lens of his ancestor's experience, and then we get this (as if life in the late 1800s were somehow relevant to the financial crisis of today):

It is remarkable to me to hear today's stories of the unemployed. They act like it is someone's fault that they do not have a "job." First of all, sarcastiquotes why? Is Mr. Tanner not sure what a "job" is? All right, I'll help you out: a post of employment; full-time or part-time position. In the current economic crisis, I think we can all agree exactly whose fault it wasn't.

What do all of these people do all day? That would be your business why? They're not lazy, Mr. Tanner, they're unemployed. I love how, in less than a nanosecond, a "blue collar hero" can become a "welfare queen" in the eyes of a conservative.

They certainly don't go volunteer at the public library, they don't show up to serve at the relief agencies mormon alert!, they don't volunteer in their communities, they aren't planting gardens, cleaning their houses or helping in care centers. How does Mr. Tanner know any of this? Particularly, how would he know that unemployed people aren't cleaning their houses? Has he checked? Why would he even assume this? It's just bizarre.

Oh, wait, got it. Welfare queens are poor and poor people are dirty! Dirty, and usually brown.

We certainly haven't seen a resurgence of community service in places like Michigan and Arizona where there is high unemployment. For one thing, "resurgence" implies that at some point community service was high, then it was low. I'm confused as to how he knows this, as official stats would be hard to get this soon after the layoffs, etc., but he may be talking about Mormon specific community service, in which case he may know that.

Maybe we need to rethink the concept of unemployment. Which concept? Redefining "unemployed" would be a little weird, as it simply means "not gainfully employed". I think he means "unemployment compensation". Here we are, in the middle of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, and Mr. Tanner wants to take away unemployment compensation. That sounds like a great idea! Let's drag the entire world into an economic death spiral because, in Mr. Tanner's view, the unemployed are lazy welfare queens.

I'm beginning to think Mitt Romney might have been more dangerous than I originally thought.


  1. That's just too bizarre. Why does he think these people need to volunteer? Will that help them get a job? Spending their time volunteering instead of job hunting? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for volunteering, but it just seems a little odd to bring it up in this instance.

  2. I assume you've heard plenty about the Ayn Randbots trying to convince the upper crust to "go Gault." Most moronic idea evar.

  3. I totally want those assholes who brought us to ruin to "go Gault". Maybe then we could fix everything.

    As for volunteering, I think it's a fantastic thing to do, but I'm not sure how that solves the unemployment problem. You don't get paid to volunteer, hence the distinction between "work" and "volunteer", so it won't solve the unemployed=no money problem.

    I do agree that if you're not doing anything else with your time, volunteering is good. I even agree that maybe while volunteering you might meet or even impress someone who could give you a job, but to imply that the instant you lose your job, you should be volunteering full time or you're a lazy welfare queen is ridiculous.

  4. Is it just me or does it seem to be implied that as soon as someone becomes unemployed they not only become Welfare Queens but they also immediately become not-white?

    Weird, huh?

  5. well, Mr. Tanner would have grown up in a time when the Book of Mormon still said all that stuff about being able to tell the good people from the bad people by the color of their skin. By this logic: employed= good, unemployed=bad. white=good, black=bad. therefore, unemployed=black

  6. I've been unemployed for almost three months. Not for want of trying. I'm signed up with four different temp agencies, and every week I send out my resume to between five and a dozen Craigslist ads and/or posts I find on indeed.com. I have a good resume. I've never worked less than a year at any job that wasn't a tempt assignment, and worked one temp assignment a year and a half even though they refused to hire me full-time. I've quit a job exactly twice. Once from a restaurant which is currently running itself into the ground due to owner incompetence. Once from a phone sex hotline because I didn't want to sign into work every day wondering which of my callers was going to turn out to be a pedophile or make me flush my face in the toilet to get his kicks.

    Why don't I go into my community and volunteer? Because bus fare in Chicago is now $2 a ride, and if I spend it going to and from a volunteer place, that's bus fare I won't have if I ever get a callback for a job interview. That's $2 I can't use to buy a loaf of bread so I can have something on which to spread my off-brand peanut butter and jelly.

    What drives me insane is this. No one has said it, but I know my real-life "emotional support network" are all thinking it. I haven't gotten a job yet because I haven't reconverted and asked Jesus to land me my dream job. Jesus, apparently, is the kind of asshole who wants to hold my apartment and my utilities hostage until I relent and agree to let him be lord and ruler over my life. Oh, and incidentally let those of his followers who got there first (and totally told me so) be rulers of my life too. Because that's just the way an infinitely merciful deity would do things.

  7. I love when you're in this situation, and every purchase you make is everybody else's business. My BIL saw me buy a candy bar, a freakin' $0.89 candy bar, and got all self righteous about how I was "wasting my money" and "that's why you can't pay the electric bill".

    Yeah, that's it. My one candy bar a week treat had brought me to financial ruin. It had nothing to do with customer service jobs all being sent to India, where the work is cheap.


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