Friday, May 28, 2021

I'm sorry. Can't fix stupid

Feeling amused by the thin skin of Trump supporters. The S.O. left a comment on a post on Baraga County Shit for Sale that including a prominent Trump 2020 banner in a photo advertising a used truck was a good way to lose a lot of potential buyers. He didn't spell it out, but common sense in any sales tactic is keep your politics to yourself -- when you're trying to sell something you don't advertise ideologies, red, blue or whatever. The only thing that's important is the green -- the color of money.

Anyway, as one might expect, a comment thread dominated by Trump supporters materialized pretty quickly, all cheerfully proving that the typical MAGAt did indeed crawl out of the shallow end of the gene pool. Lots and lots of bashing liberals, Biden, and the S.O. After about a dozen comments from butt-hurt MAGAts the S.O. tossed some kerosene on to the fire by noting that "I knew my comment would bring out the losers. Thanks for not disappointing."

Which actually wasn't what the original comment was intended to do. He simply pointed out the Trump banner was a turn-off for some people. But if it had the effect of triggering hurt feelings in a bunch of right-wing snowflakes, I guess that's an unintended consequence he's happy to live with.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Where have all the peons gone?

I started toying with the idea of doing a post on the myth of the labor shortage a week or two ago, decided it wasn't worth the effort, and now have circled back to it. I haven't felt much like writing lately because it's Spring, things are green again, and there are flowerbeds to weed, grapevines to prune, and who wants to sit in front of a computer when the sun is shining and it's possible to be outside without wearing seventeen layers of clothing? 

The media, however, continue to obsess about the "labor shortage" and it 's starting off as a rather gray day so here I am: wasting time blogging about something that has no actual direct impact on my life. After all, it's not going to make a whole lot of difference to me if Applebee's is having trouble finding servers.

It does, however, annoy the heck out of me that the same so-called experts who tout the wonders of the free market and capitalism seem to assume that the one resource that should not be subject to market forces is human labor. It's fine when housing prices sky rocket because there's a shortage of houses for buyers, but if there's a shortage of workers? Let them eat cake, be content with starvation pay. No way should increased demand result in higher wages for anyone. It's bizarre.

Granted, depending on where a business is located nationally, there may actually be a labor shortage. Out here in BFE, we have an overabundance of geezers -- the county's population is something like 25 percent elderly -- and a shrinking population of folk young and dumb and willing to work for minimum wage. To be blunt, even if every high school student legally able to work an unrestricted schedule went looking for jobs, there still wouldn't be enough of them to go around. Warm bodies, I mean, not jobs. 

Then when you toss in that the fact that even if there are the warm bodies in sufficient numbers,  the number of people willing to work for poverty wages was dwindling before the pandemic. Here in Michigan the state minimum wage is $9.65 so it's not as ridiculously low as the federal rate, but it's still not exactly a pay rate that guarantees living high on the proverbial hog. 

I do see occasional suggestions that one solution to any labor shortage is to recruit geezers. You know, convince the old folks that they'd rather stock shelves at Walmart than relax at home or pursue the interests they put off for years. Why spend your golden years enjoying fly fishing or traveling when you could be emptying cartons of toilet paper in the middle of the night? The classic Evil Empire job for old people was "greeter," but that job's been eliminated. So have most of the cashier jobs (they've been replaced by self-checkout stations) so what's left? Stocking shelves. No thanks. The budget might be tight but even desperate geezers need more than Walmart wages to be enticed out of their rocking chairs.