DONT BELIEVE THE HYPECan't the unemployed fill these vacant jobs?
Am I the only one who sees anything strange in this?
The lead story on the front page of Tuesday’s Press had this headline:“New Law Blamed for Less Workers.”
Cleaning agencies, agricultural enterprises and other manual labor businesses are complaining that Alabama’s new anti-illegal-immigrant law has caused their workers to quit and leave the state, and they cannot find anyone to replace them.
But get this: According to figures published by the state, there are approximately 215,000 certified legal Alabama citizens who are officially unemployed. In Mobile, the unemployment rate is around 11 percent, resulting in approximately 20,000 people without work.
According to the newspaper story, state Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Gulf Shores, estimates the agricultural worker shortfall in lower Alabama next spring will be approximately 1,100 jobs.
It certainly should raise this question: How on earth could there be a shortfall of 1,100 jobs, when there are 20,000 citizens who remain unemployed, doing nothing?
Numerous previous news stories have quoted official or business sources as saying that Americans do not want to do the kind of work that the illegal immigrants do. It makes you wonder who was doing this work before the illegal immigrants got here.
These are not minimum-wage jobs, by the way. Most, according to news reports, are paying $12 to $14 per hour — about $100 a day. And still these 20,000 unemployed in Mobile — many of them without jobs for more than a year — will not condescend to accept such work?
What are they living on? Is it the government dole? How do they eat, pay their rent and bills, and buy gas? Are the taxpayers of this city, state and nation obligated to support them forever until they find the sort of job that they feel suited to?
Am I being cruel? Insensitive? Uncaring? I don’t think so.
I was unemployed myself, in 1967, having been recently discharged from the U.S. Army, as an officer, after serving a year in Vietnam. I had a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in philosophy, and I wanted to work with something in words, in ideas.
After a number of months, I had gone through all of the money I had saved up from being in Vietnam. I also realized that I could not sponge off my parents, and so when the opportunity arose for a job that paid minimum wage for unskilled work, I took it.
I was grateful for the job, though I didn’t plan on doing it forever (but might have, if something better hadn’t come along).
Was it demeaning? Yeah, a little. That was the year that I was in the Mardi Gras court, and was going to debutante parties and other such society functions, while most of my friends were starting out in their careers in banking, the law, medicine or business.
This isn’t some kind of Horatio Alger story. It’s just simple math. I needed that buck an hour and wasn’t too proud to work for it.
What is wrong with these “unemployed” people that that they refuse to take jobs that are “beneath” them, or that require physical labor?
Obviously someone 50 years old or older, or out of shape, or with health problems could be excused from such work. But what about the healthy 18 to 49-year-olds? How have we become the kind of nation in which they sit on their duffs waiting for the dream job, while the rest of us schmucks pay our taxes to support them?
It’s not just in Alabama, either. This situation goes across the nation