To Labor Day: An ode

Oh labor, oh labor, how valiant you are.

To those hard at work, your day is a star!

You help us birth babies, you build fine tall bridges;

You help us cure scabies, you bulldoze big ridges.

You wipe runny noses, you help us build houses;

You polish our toeses, you catch naughty mouses.

You work day and night, keeping our country safe.

From the helpless, the homeless, to the innocent waif.

You toil in clinics, factories and stations,

You  work day and night across most of our nation.

But many of your people are in a fine pickle,

They want to find labor but prospects are fickle.

Fine, upright people with spunk and ambition,

Are moping around, ’cause their jobs have gone missin’.

Oh labor, oh labor, we need you in a hurry,

Unemployment’s run out and your people are worried.

Oh labor, oh labor, please help us get crackin’,

Help our unemployed folks find a way to get back in.

(Dear Mr. Obama and Congress: Please stop rearranging your meetings and chairs at the table, and instead find some jobs for our strong and our able!)

Labor Day Bridge Walk, or unemployment line?

© Huffygirl 2011

(Original poem by Huffygirl: May be used with link to this blog and attribution; contact Huffygirl via comments or email for permission to reprint.)


We need a new deal

selfmade image of U.S. Unemployment rate from ...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently saw a local theater production of the musical “Annie.” The musical recounts the story of Annie, an orphan girl hoping to find her real parents, while she lives in a miserable orphanage in NYC. The subplot focuses on the economic hardship and unemployment experienced throughout the country during the depression. While watching the play unfold, one can’t help but feel our country’s current economic situation is mirrored in this musical’s theme. 

Recently, Mr. Obama and others announced, “Hey, our recession is over.” Well, nice thoughts, but tell that to the 14.6 million unemployed, or the thousands of others who have lost homes, savings, retirement income, health insurance and so on, and it just doesn’t ring true. 

In speaking to others this week about the 14 million who are about to lose extended unemployment benefits, I was surprised at the rancorous comments I heard. Some people trotted out the old, flawed argument about “…unemployment benefits are a disincentive for people to find work…” and “if people would just try harder they’d find a job…” and “…why don’t these lazy people just get job retraining and stop living off the government…” These  insensitive and uncaring attitudes blow me away. Where I work I meet unemployed people every day. The majority of them are hard-working Americans who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own, many from factories that have closed or cut back production. Many have seen their jobs move to other countries where labor is cheap. I’ve met those who are college-educated, unskilled, and skilled tradespersons, and they all say the same thing: they started out looking for work in their field, and ended up looking for any kind of work. Some can’t get job training, either from not having the right economic qualifications, not living where training is available, or not having the intellectual ability to learn a new skill. Many are already highly trained, and additional training would just make them more over-qualified for the jobs that aren’t there. Even with training, many cannot afford to uproot their family, leave their house and move to where certain kinds of jobs are available. It is just not realistic to expect that 14 million people can “just get some job retraining” and they’ll all have jobs again.   

To those who are critical of the unemployed, I say try living on $325 a week (the maximum regular benefit) for months or years, and see if it makes you lose the desire to work.  How many people could support their family, make house payments, car payments, utility payments, etc and not lose their home, fall behind in bills, and go without?

For the rest of us, those who feel the suffering of our country, I say, do what you can to support the unemployed as you’re able. Give to food banks. Support charities that help the needy. If you’re in a position to hire, call back those who’ve been laid off, or hire unemployed folks who’ve started their own businesses like lawn care, snow plowing, housecleaning, etc.

It doesn’t look like our country is getting a new deal any time soon. And 14 million Americans are about to get an even worse deal. Our government should be ashamed for not helping them.  Thanks Congress.

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Satire Friday: Senate Bill 2274, McCain-Logan

This week Senator John McCain introduced Bill 2274 on the senate floor. The bill, now being promoted as McCain-Logan proposes extreme measures for dealing with unemployment. McCain admits, that the proposed bill, while radical, is necessary in light of continued rising unemployment. Discouraging unemployment figures, despite new job growth, led to the extreme measure.  “Unemployment remains at 9.6%, despite a recent net gain of 151,000 jobs; 14.8 million people are out of work. At this rate, the country would have to create 250,000 jobs per month for the next 10 years, in order to reduce the unemployment rate to 5%,” noted McCain. “These figures project a dismal future for workers in our country. Our choice is clear – create more jobs, or reduce workers.”

Logan's Run (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

In an interview on NBC’s Today Show, McCain outlined his proposal while under fire from show host, the ever-caustic Matt Lauer. McCain admitted to Lauer that the inspiration for his bill came from his recent viewing of the 1976 Sci-Fi film, Logan’s Run. “I had never seen this movie before and ran across it one night while unable to sleep. In the film, the members of a post-apocalyptical society live in a domed city, believing that the world around them is uninhabitable. Faced with limited resources, the inhabitants enforce radical rules for population control, which results in the inhabitants of the dome able to continue living there without using up their space and resources.” While Lauer questioned McCain’s  proposal as barbaric, and likely illegal, McCain persisted. “Our population refuses to control itself. Thanks to medical advances, people like Dick Cheney are living well into their 70’s and 80’s and showing no signs of gracefully giving up their space. These oldsters, especially the ones who insist on continuing to work, many at highly paid positions, are, quite frankly, depriving younger people of jobs and resources in the process. Meanwhile the government struggles to support these folks with unemployment benefits, food stamps and the like” When Lauer rightly pointed out that a bill such as this would end McCain’s own career, McCain became enraged, jumped up on the couch and shouted “It’s time for Carousel, dammit.”  Head of NBC security, Francis Sandman was called in to subdue McCain, while NBC was forced to cut to commercial.

McCain’s spokesperson later issued the following statement: “Senator McCain is resting under a doctor’s care. He is suffering from extreme exhaustion related to his tireless work for the American people. Mr. McCain is expected to make a full recovery and return to the Senate in time to chair the subcommittee to review Bill 2274.”

(This all makes more sense if you’re familiar with the cult classic, Logan’s Run. Click the link below, or better yet, see the movie!)        

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.