Re: Didn't need no welfare state (trying to move up in the world)

From: john grigg (
Date: Thu Apr 20 2000 - 14:55:38 MDT

Billy Brown wrote:
>Willing or not, if the alternative is starvation the slackers will go >out
>and work.

There is a difference between the 'slacker' and the criminal. The slackers
I know may be somewhat lazy but would never mug or burglarize. They simply
use any gov't aid they qualify for, mooch off family and friends, eat at
soup kitchens, only work part-time or don't work at all and live at home if
they can. Despite this, the very idea of committing serious crimes is
appalling to them. But a criminal sees that as a real option. I realize
there is a time when a person decides to make that leap but usually
shoplifting and other crimes have been going on since childhood and went
unpunished which created the foundation for such serious behavior.

Nadia wrote:
This really naive. Again, 'things will sort themselves out".It's not the
only alternative to starvation is it? Crime pays way better.
Don't kid yourself that MacDonalds will suddenly be better stocked with
uneducated unskilled able-bodied humans. (Someone, maybe you, pointed out
that in the US anyone able-bodied can already get a job in janitorial or
fast food there's an abundance of socially demeaning shitjobs at below
poverty level wages.)

"It's time to GET PAID!!" Ever hear that expression? In certain subcultures
it sure does not mean go to the office and pick up your check! It means
time to rob and steal other human beings with the very real threat of
violence. Nadia, it must be very interesting doing art with gang kids to
say the least.

Crime does pay WAY better generally then a minimum wage job. At least
temporarily and immediate gratification is part of the life style and way of
thinking here. Often criminals have a warped sense of pride that tells them
that working for a low wage or simply doing any manual labor for any wage is
an insult to them. I have seen a number of documentaries where this is
shown, over and over again. They would bristle and finally quit if they
worked at a fast food joint and had to accept the rules and belittling that
comes with such a job.

A local fast food manager in Anchorage was shot and killed by some of the
very kids she had hired to work for her, she had 'disrespected' them by
asking for their shirts to be tucked in!

Nadia wrote:
Then you also insist the government shouldn't supply education, and impose
guidelines for minimum wages, or support job training (with our taxes)
--count on even less incentive to work and much more incentive to rob liquor
stores or run drugs.

I agree that there needs to be proper funding for programs like this. But
they need to be competently designed and run. It is cheaper over the short
term to maintain the welfare status quo rather then try to educate and
employ the poor.

I have heard it said that these programs ultimately help those who on their
own could have probably made it(since they had ambition and desire) and that
the folks who are seen as the most in 'need' of the help just don't want it.
  But this is a generalization and I am sure in many instances people got
the boost they absolutely had to have to succeed.

Billy Brown wrote:
It is perfectly possible for a single adult to survive on one of these jobs,
even today. If you got rid of all the stupid laws that drive up the price of
living (rent controls, crop price supports, etc.) he might even be able to
afford a few luxuries (like TV, air conditioning, telephones, movies, eating
out, etc.).

Survive yes, but not thrive. Hard to impress the ladies when you are barely
getting by!! I know that! "No money, no honey!" But then, getting an
education is what a person must focus their energies on to get the things
they want. And this involves self-discipline, at least some intelligence,
mentors and belief in yourself. As a SINGLE person it is possible to get by
on a low minimum wage paycheck. And you better have a roommate to halve the
expenses with and that is trustworthy.

you continue:
But the real advantage for the individual of working (rather than being on
the dole) is that they aren't stuck in the same place forever.

Very good point. There is at least some chance for them to improve their

you continue:
Look at the careers of people who actually do this kind of work long-term,
and you'll find that they tend to work their way up to a better standard of
living eventually.

They 'tend' to. Some can work at a retailer for fifteen years and never
make management because they are not interested and also don't really have
the ability.

you continue:
There is a long ladder of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs, stretching from
minimum wage scut work on up to $25,000/yr salaried junior managers, that a
worker can climb based on nothing but perseverance and a little on-the-job
training. Almost no one gets stuck at the very bottom for long.

Some do have the ambition and brains to move on up fairly quickly and others
do not. I currently work fulltime at a Fred Meyers store (a very large
retailer in the western U.S.) as a Home dept. floorperson/cashier(at age 33,
time to get my act together and finish college!) and see the process you
have described. I sometimes feel sorry for my managers who I think are
sometimes on the verge of nervous breakdowns(I hope not because of me). The
jr. manager who trained me has since resigned his managerial position due to
stress. I sure don't want the spot.

The fellow who interviewed and hired me is the deputy director of the store
and the home section chief. He only has a little college under his belt but
is very sharp and a strong natural leader. I see how native intelligence is
important in getting ahead even at this level. The pressure of a wife and
child on the way as a younger man meant perhaps not going as far
educationally as he could have considering his talents. But he is now in
training to head his own store and will at that point be making a salary
that will be very competitive by most professional standards. He is now
finding his niche among the 'cognitive elite' who are ambitious also.

best regards,

John Grigg
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