Yahoo! News reports in “Boehner says unemployed ‘don’t really want’ jobs. How bad a gaffe for GOP?,” that:
“The Republican Party’s top leader in Congress is catching flak for a comment that appears to call the jobless lazy – a comment that has rekindled an old challenge for the party: appearing insensitive or uncaring toward Americans who are poor or in financial difficulty.”
Goodness know that politicians can’t “appear insensitive or uncaring”. Like Bill Clinton (a multimillionaire), all politicians must “feel the pain” of the less fortunate.
“House Speaker John Boehner was asked after a speech last week to comment on a plan for addressing poverty – promoted by a Republican colleague, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
“Speaker Boehner gave a response that was favorable toward Representative Ryan’s plan, but not so favorable about Americans’ work ethic. He said in part: “I think this idea that’s been born over last … couple of years that, ‘You know, I really don’t have to work, I don’t really want to do this, I think I’d just rather sit around,’ – this is a very sick idea for our country.”
Representative Boehner was right. The unemployed are lazy and generally don’t want jobs.
But, it’s not just the unemployed who don’t want jobs—neither do most of those who have jobs.
After all, if everyone wanted jobs, why do we have to pay them? If work was so much fun, why don’t the employees pay the employers for the “privilege” of working?
Employers pay employees because virtually none of us really wants to get up, go to work, deal with a bunch of idiots and come home at night too tired to watch Dancing WithThe Stars. Very few of us really want a job.
We do, however, want the pay. Therefore, as long as the employer keeps paying, we accept the job—even if we don’t actually want that job. As long as we love the pay more than we hate the job, we go to work. That’s the real “work ethic”.
• But, being lazy and not wanting a job isn’t confined to the unemployed, the poor or even most employees—it also includes politicians like Mr. Boehner.
When Congressman Boehner starts criticizing the unemployed for being lazy, what about all the Congressmen who are elected to represent their constituents but don’t even read the legislation that they vote for or against? Isn’t reading the proposed legislation a big part of the legislators’ job? Isn’t the Congress’s failure to read the legislation it votes on, evidence of same laziness, poor “work ethic” in Congress that Representative Boehner finds so distasteful in the unemployed?
It would be interesting to know how many proposed bills Congressman Boehner has actually read during his career and how many bills he voted for or against, without reading them. If we had that information, we’d have a good indication of Representative Boehner’s personal “work ethic”.
• And finally, if the employed don’t generally want the jobs they have, and the unemployed don’t want the jobs they might be able to get, it’s also true the employers don’t generally want to pay their employees a wage that’s sufficient to support the American dream. In fact, employers hate paying their employees just as much as their employees hate going to work.
All of which suggests that if Representative Boehner would like to improve the work ethic of the unemployed, maybe he should improve the employers’ “pay ethic” .
Maybe, workers would demonstrate a better “work ethic” if employers demonstrated a better “pay ethic”. Maybe, American worker would be more interested in working if they weren’t condemned to work for 3rd world wages thanks to global free trade, reduced American tariffs, outsourcing some jobs and moving industries and high-paying industrial jobs to 3rd world countries—and leaving nothing behind for American workers but low paying jobs that no one wants but the invading hoard of illegal aliens.
The “work ethic” does not exist in a vacuum. People work hard in return for good pay. When government reduced the American corporations’ “pay ethic” by promoting “global free trade” and encouraging the invasion by illegal aliens, government also reduced the American workers’ “work ethic”.
I’m not here to advocate more welfare or raising the minimum wage. I’m not necessarily against those ideas, but they only address symptoms—they don’t promote economic solutions.
By choosing to drop our tariffs and force American workers to compete head-on with cheap foreign labor—by choosing to not enforce our borders against illegal aliens—the government (acting on behalf of multi-national corporations) absolved multi-national corporations from the obligation to pay American workers a fair wage. When the government absolved multi-national corporations from paying American workers a living wage, they also absolved many of those workers from any moral obligation to maintain a “work ethic”.
Representative Boehner played an active role in helping to reduce the corporate employers’ “pay ethic”—he has no right to complain about a consequent loss of the employees’ “work ethic”.