Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another WTF Story from NPR

National Propaganda Radio

Today on NPR's Weekend Edition, another heartwarming story about a worker being exploited by evil Republicans.  Grrrr!  Hate those Republicans!  They're so mean!  Time for a 2-minutes hate!

In Arizona, they are cutting off unemployment benefits, which have been extended an amazing 79 weeks (that's about a year and half, folks!), and as illustrated in a previous posting here, have made up a huge part of our deficit, as unemployment and welfare benefits have skyrocketed in the last two years - more than doubling since the Clinton years.

There is an argument to be made that when you pay people not to work, they choose not to work - or choose only jobs that pay more than the not-working money.   So, if you are getting money from the government, and have some savings, you might be inclined to not take a $10 an hour job, since it pays more to stay at home, given the expenses involved working.

And, as unemployment benefits eventually run out across the nation, people will bite the bullet and take those crappy jobs - often the only ones they are qualified for or entitled to (we have a nation of people with no job skills whatsoever, while jobs with basic skills go unfilled).  And when that happens, as it did in the early 1980's, you will see the unemployment picture improve.

What was jarring about the story was the poster-girl they used for it.   A lady in Arizona who was a school bus driver for many years, then a school bus driver attendant (WTF?  We never had those when I was a kid!) and then a receptionist.  She is looking for a receptionist job, but would "be willing" to take file clerk, if it came to it.

"Since 2009, Lynn Broshears has been unemployed and looking for work. Now, the 67-year-old is bumping up against the 79-week unemployment limit.
Broshears has been a school bus driver, a school bus attendant and a receptionist. She's sent out a couple hundred resumes since losing her job, but hasn't gotten many responses. She currently collects about $150 a week in unemployment benefits and is worried about losing that.
"I will not be able to buy my medications. I will not be able to pay the car insurance or the household insurance," Broshears says, adding that she has no idea what is going to happen."

The first thing you see that is wrong about this story is that she is awfully picky about what job she is willing to do - for someone who is unemployed.  She has narrowed her focus to two possible jobs - receptionist and file clerk - both of which are archaic jobs in this day and age.   Many companies have no receptionists anymore - just a phone tree and a sign on the front desk next to the phone, informing visitors to dial the extension of the person they want to visit.  And it makes sense - no one can afford to have a person just sit behind a desk all day and greet visitors, particularly when there are so few of them, these days, with the Internet and all.   Similarly, file clerk is rapidly becoming an obsolete job, as "files" start to disappear and are replaced with computer files.  You don't need a file clerk to file files that don't exist.  But those are the two jobs she will stoop to take.

The second thing you see that is wrong with this story isn't told to you until nearly the end.  The lady is 67 years old and collecting unemployment.  At first, this goes right under your radar.  67 years old and forced by those evil Republicans to go get a job!  But wait a minute, 67 is old enough to collect Social Security!  This lady should be RETIRED by now - and in fact, perhaps she might be - and collecting unemployment for as long as possible under the rubric of "looking for a job".  By that age, you should not be working - or not have to.  And if you have to, it is the fault of poor planning on your part, not "evil Republicans".

And that leads to the third thing wrong with this story.  She was a school bus driver - a government job - for many years.  So we can presume that she likely has a government pension as well.  Is this lady triple-dipping - pension, social security, AND unemployment?  Wow!  Those Evil Republicans are really sticking it to her!

And that leads to the fourth thing wrong with this story.  By age 67, you should have saved up enough money in life to be retired, period.  Even if somehow this lady eluded getting a pension from being a bus driver, she should be in a position, at age 67, to not be working.  Why?   Because by age 67, no one wants to hire you.  That's just the way it works.  So if this lady is suffering at this stage in life, whose fault it that?  That's right!  The Evil Republicans!  They forced her not to save money for 47 years!  How was she to know she would end up retired some day?

The fifth thing wrong about the story is that it implies that this lady is living on $150 a week of unemployment benefits and has no other sources of income - at age 67 - such as Social Security, Retirement Savings (which a 67-year-old should be living on by now) and possibly a fat pension from the school district (if she was a bus driver in NY, this could be close to six figures alone!).   But of course, NPR was very silent about that - it is a better story if we make it out like she is living on $7800 a year.  But she isn't - unless she chose to do so.

And of course the sixth thing wrong with the story is the whining about not having enough money to pay for medicines.  I guess she never heard of medicare - which you can get at age 67.

And of course, the seventh thing wrong with the story is her whining about car insurance costs - I pay $32 a month through GEICO to insure two BMWs.  That's less than I spent on lunch today.  Please don't tell me she has full collision on her giant SUV or something stupid like that.

So, we have a person who should rightly be retired by now, likely has a pension, AND is collecting social security (or should be, there is no economic point of waiting until age 70), AND should have a lifetime of savings to live on (and if not, has no one to blame but herself) AND should be debt-free at this stage in life (again, no one to blame but herself, and interestingly enough, in the piece, did not mention "Mortgage Payment" or "Rent" as her onerous expenses), AND has an obsolete set of job skills, AND is unwilling to take any job other than two narrow choices....

           .... and we are supposed to feel sorry for her?

I think they need to pick better poster children for these stories!  Perhaps at least a working family who is young, has a mortgage, debts, children to raise, and things like that.  But, perhaps they could not find that person, because that guy (or gal) is younger and has job skills greater than "receptionist" and actually found a job - or left Arizona to find one.  Because they had to.

Perhaps they picked this poor poster-child choice because she is representative of a lot of people collecting unemployment.   As I have harped upon again and again here, a lot of people get laid off at age 55-65 and  never work again.   The unemployment benefits we are providing to these people are not "tiding them over" until they get another job, but rather are just supplementing their existing retirement incomes, until they just stop working and retire.

Lady, you're 67!  Retire.  Play golf.  Enjoy life.  You don't need unemployment at that age - or if you do, it ain't anyone's fault but your own!

But excuse me if I don't feel sorry for you.   That "unemployment" you are collecting at age 67 comes right out of my pocket.  And I strongly suspect that you really don't need the money so much as want it.

Sorry!  No Sale!

P.S. - the Eighth thing wrong with this story is the TITLE - "Arizona pits unemployed against STATE spending."  As the legislator interviewed noted, they are cutting off unemployment benefits because the money comes, in part, from WASHINGTON, and this is the only way a State Legislature can cut Federal spending.

It seems this missed this story from every angle, except the pot-smoking, let's-feel-sorry-for-everyone, victim-hood enshrinement, neo-Communist NPR attitude.  And yea, they apparently do a lot of bong hits at public broadcasting, according to my friends in Northern Virginia.

Oh, will someone think of the workers!  Besides Karl Marx, that is.

P.P.S. - the spelled "slough" wrong as well:

"They think we're a bunch of sluff-offs," she says. "We're not. We have to look for a job. It's basically looking for a job is a full-time job itself.""

Sluff-off?   Try Slough, perhaps?  Perhaps the weekend crew at NPR has no spell checker on their computers.  Bunch of Slough-Offs!

Shoddy journalism at its best!  And certainly worthy of government subsidy!  Wait, aren't we supposed to be cutting the budget?   I know a good place to start!


P.P.P.S to all you haters out there.  I am a registered Democrat, but this sort of story makes me want to puke.  I am not a registered idiot.   You can't just keep feeling sorry for people and handing them money.   Retirees don't need unemployment!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the "Greatest (and most modest) Generation Ever" (who as we all know, ALL stormed the beaches at Normandy) are living a retirement lifestyle that many of US will never have.  Defined pensions, fat Social Security checks, Medicare - you-name-it.

Our generation gets a 401(k) and a fuck-you on a stick.   So pardon me if I don't feel sorry for a 67-year-old who either failed to plan for retirement, or is receiving unemployment benefits at retirement age.   Unemployment was supposed to be for WORKING people, not retirees.  And no, I've never collected a dime of it and never will.  Another one of those "fuck you" deals again.