Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

“Grateful to Have a Job”

Ellen Goodman uses that expression in her September 10th column. When you Google that phrase you’ll get 3.7 million hits. Talk about a sign of the times.

Every time an employee gets downsized or outsourced, he/she leaves behind a coworker who’s carrying twice the workload — with no corresponding increase in pay or benefits. And the person’s supervisor is probably more stressed, more harried and even more of an asshole to work for.

As Ellen Goodman says:

“But there are, after all, just as many cases to be managed by fewer social workers. There are just as many floors to be cleaned by fewer janitors…The government doesn't track how many are doing the labor of their former co-workers. Nor does it quantify economic anxiety. The closest we get to numbering the grateful worker is in the figures showing that job-leavers — those who voluntarily quit — are at an all-time low. Trust me, they aren't all staying because they suddenly love their bosses.”

Economist Heather Boushey calls it the “gloves-off economy.” Employees are scared shitless of getting laid off or fired, with or without a valid reason. And they’ll do anything — anything! — to avoid any perception of giving less than 200%. Working long hours without putting in for overtime; coming to work even when they’re sick (or a loved one is sick) — OK, OK, I’ll do it! Don’t rock the boat! Don’t ask for anything or call attention to yourself in any way, and never never ever say no.

Goodman also says: “The talk of work-life balance has fallen as fast as a 401(k)…Indeed, if fear is more contagious than the swine flu, what's going to happen when workers choose between putting their health on the line or their jobs?”

In a related story: the National Labor Relations Board is still paralyzed after years of being sabotaged by Republicans. Believe it or not, this agency — as the name implies — at one time actually protected workers from unfair labor practices.

Dozens of disputes are still pending. The final decisions will have a huge effect on American workers for decades to come.

When a Republican president takes office, every agency that protects workers’ safety, education, consumers, the environment — instantly gets emptied out and stacked with Republicans who want to abolish the agency because they hate everything it stands for. But eight months after Obama has taken office, the National Labor Relations Board is still full of rightwing oligarchs who have nothing but contempt for anybody who works for a living.

The agency is still constipated with holdovers from the Dumbya administration; the fox guarding the henhouse, as it were. It’s time to deliver a massive dose of Ex-Lax and get that shit out of there.

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Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Here in Michigan, which is where the unemployment rate is perhaps the highest, I hear this all the time. The Titanic is going down, and were left clinging to what ever scrap will keep us afloat....

September 15, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

With all the talk in the past 6 weeks, about angry citizens who want their country back, frenzied media encouragement of rudeness and incivility, there are people, of whom Ellen Goodman wrote, who are just plugging away, doing the work of two people for no extra pay, wondering if they will be next in the unemployment line. I wonder when these folks are going to have the time to be angry? Too busy to go teabagging, and protesting and sign-writing. Too busy being grateful.

September 15, 2009 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

What do you think that rally at DC was about?
People who know the policies of big Gov,higher taxes and more Gov spending and the unionization of the health care system,cap and tax are the policies that will cause greater unemployment.
Those are the people who work hard to get by and they see the writing on the wall because those are the people it will hurt the most and hurt big.
Yes they are angry and rightfully so. Or maybe they are just a bunch of bible thumping racists being you have yourselves convinced that's what they all are.
And for those people with their hear in the sand the DC march was on Saturday when many people are off....or unemployed already.
But keep plugging eventually you will be living in the Utopian Society you are hoping for.

September 16, 2009 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

One never hears about DC being grateful that some enterprising American citizen entrepreneur hasn't invented a zombie virus and let his undead minions run rampant throughout the nation's capital. A shame.

September 16, 2009 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

You're preaching to the choir there Tom. I can attest to that personnally and it wasn't just employee rules and regulations that went by the wayside. It was an anything goes mentality on environmental rules as well. If you didn't get caught it didn't happen and even if you did get caught not much happened.
Yep I see former coworkers who are working mass overtime and stressing. Then there are ones like myself who are stressing and wondering if they'll even get back into the work force after a long lay off.

September 16, 2009 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Well being we voted Jimmy Carter in for a 2nd term we can find ourselves back to the good old days of ever increasing unemployment and inflation.
Chians we can believe in.

September 16, 2009 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: That's right, those lowly workers will cling to whatever they possibly can, and they'll be grateful for the opportunity.

Holte: It's almost a reverse of the 1960s when the main retort against anti-war protesters was "get a job!" Now it's time for stressed overworked workers to tell the birthers and teabaggers "get a job Asshole!"

Lisa: Did you comment at the right post? It sounds like you're still arguing about the previous post; but your comment is so all-over-the-map, it's hard to tell.

Randal: Don't worry, it'll be invented soon.

Demeur: That's true, rules in general have fallen by the wayside. Presidents who don't believe in protecting the environment or workers' safety can keep reducing funding for enforcement, as well as stacking all of the protective agencies with fellow wingnuts who don't think that agency should even exist.

September 16, 2009 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lisa: OK, now you're on the right post. Yup, Obama is just like Jimmy Carter. Hasn't invaded any foreign countries, stepped up the war on drugs, reduced taxes for the richest 1% of the population or any of the other manly things that American presidents are supposed to do. We're finished.

September 16, 2009 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Oh and speaking of unemployment may I say congratulations to the latest elected thug Richard Trumka.
Tom we all got the same tax cut only they will be expiring soon so expect a little less in your paycheck along with all the other costs added to the Baucus bill.
I guess we can expect to be the next invaded country with Venezuela and North Korea all armed up, with the help of Russia and Iran(Jimma's Bud), and sticking their noses at us and laughing at Carter uh,... err I mean Wimpbama.

September 16, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger lisa said...



September 16, 2009 at 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Real estate Toronto said...

Interesting article about this hard time. I understand those angry people. It is really difficult to keep the job in these days and it is very unpleasant to live with the worries about the job.

September 16, 2009 at 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Ok, who left the door open? The Living Dead just walked in...

Noone convinced me the teabaggers are a bunch of turkeys who just can't stand that a black man could get elected president but the teabaggers themselves. Puhleeze...all those gray haired old fart retirees are workers?

September 16, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lisa: Venezuela and North Korea are about to invade us? Well, we have weapons of mass destruction. We will greet the Venezuelan and N. Korean armies as liberators.

September 16, 2009 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: "The Living Dead just walked in." LOL.

I'll bet most of those teabaggers are collecting a pension or some other government handout, while they're blubbering about "big government" and "pay for it yourself!" And the irony is lost on them.

September 16, 2009 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Tom and Bee of course old fart retirees are worried. They will be at the bottom of the list.
And the term teabagger was started by Anderson opper and who but him would know better about it.

I guess you didn't notice any of the hard working and unemployed people there either struggling to make ends meet.

I know it's easy to see only what you want to see. You see racsits tea baggers and the rest of us see commies.

September 16, 2009 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Well Tom I didn't exactly mean they would invade us. But they are menacing .

September 16, 2009 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

I checked Lisa's Thoughts out, thinking it might be a spunky, interesting blog with a different take on things. Empty.

September 17, 2009 at 1:55 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Yes they are angry and rightfully so. Or maybe they are just a bunch of bible thumping racists being you have yourselves convinced that's what they all are.

Jeez, I wonder what on Earth would give us that impression? Maybe the fact that damn near every sign held up at that rally had something to do with Obama's race and ancestral background?

And are you really THAT stupid? You had 6 years to show us all how much better your way is. Well, we see for ourselves what right-wing humps don't seem to get-trickle down ALWAYS leads to Depression and third-world living for the lower end of the economic rung. We also see every other country with a single-payer system has both lower costs and higher overall benefits-yet you humps continue with stories spun out of Sarah Palin's ass.

Your ilk is beneath contempt, and contempt is all you deserve.

September 17, 2009 at 2:29 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

No worries, Holte. Even if she actually posted her drivel in her own blog, it'd still be empty of anything making sense.

September 17, 2009 at 2:31 PM  

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