Serving the Metropolitan Area
THE CATFISH BOOK of JOBS!
By Jack Parnell - retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate
Syndicated by Acme Features
Now that deal Americans cut with the posterity... one as held up since before 1776... went sorta like this: educate yourself, work hard, conform to the caprices of your betters, and don't disgrace yourself in the community. Do this and you'll move up in the world a bit and be able to buy stuff; if'n you don't, your children might.
Were, always, exceptions... misfortunes as struck plenty of American Jobs (that Bible-man, not employment golden passports, though both have their much of a muchness in common) as didn't get redeemed after their time of moral and/or physical testing… like the preacher-fellow in that French book about the pests as the Don Jones folks were reading a while back, that priest as died. Innocents dead in floods or earthquakes; wars, lynchings or hurricanes while, on another finger, gangsters, Purell or toilet paper-speculators and dim celebrities flourished – then and again. Always wondered what all that collateral damage out’n that Book… those relative and neighbors, children and such thought about the system – burning down there in Hell after their excruciating deaths or, at the best, shivering in some cold, damp Greekish Limbo while Job gets a new, improved family, livestock and friends they can look up at, if not to. Part of what made the Satanist of me, I guess…
Parents sent their children off to schools, instead of work, out of belief in a delayed gratification as would bring rewards later in life, instead of a six-figure debt. Politicians in Washington and the statehouses passed or rejected legislation people might or have might not liked… but at least could understand. (You may want to look here for a bit more on that!) On the whole, a dull sort of justice prevailed... most got more or less out of the system as they put into it.
Then, somebody busted the contract! Some Republican apologists blamed the women working, though I'd recommend anyone as maintains women didn't work before the Jazz Age to Granny Tarleton, o’er the ridge in Varnersville. Hit ninety-five, last October, can still shoot squirrels out'n a dead tree. Women did plenty of work in those days. They just didn't get paid for it - so had to make do with that washboard, broom and log-fueled cookstove instead of Maytags, microwaves and dirt devils.
When the circle of commerce widened, some housewives used their pay from phone companies, schools or hospitals to buy devices as cut their at-home working hours. This fattened paychecks of their American menfolk, as assembled and marketed those devices. That's how we rode in the good old days.
Then some slicks... as likely considered themselves part of this New World Order... figured out how paying Mexicans ten percent of American wages would fatten their bottom lines, so we got the NAFTA. Then Red China scrapped half the Communism... that liberal silliness as frowned on exploitation of proletariats... kept the other jackboots-germ-warfare-and-concentration-camps half, and sold off their gulag-state labor at ten percent of the Mexican ten percent. By the ought-eight election our Federal Gumment owed them Chinese more’n half a trillion bucks, same to Japan, three-hundred billions to the Brits… even seventy-five bil to Russia for what was it (borscht? vodka?)… while millions of Americans with costly educations couldn't pass the application tests for jobs serving up fries or sweeping our streets. (Don’t ask what now?... it’s worse since the gumment gave companies stimulatin’ tax breaks which they put to use upon the making n’ buying of R2doodoos and See Three Pee Ohs to do all that work for wages no greater than the electricity as costs us in wildfires and flooding, the both, and a little no-longer-cheap oil!)
They replaced laid-off Civil War re-enactors in the Westville, Georgia replacement theme park after the original split off to Columbus with Guatemalans and recruited miners from China, Romania and Ukraine to replace downsized Kentuckians and would’ve hired those caved-in Chileans and Thailand boys except that they’d already made a modest pile selling their stories to the media and doin’ those movies. If there's a cave-in, FEMA uses our tax money to train rats to replace dogs sniffing and people pulling Dracula’s daughters out – the mine owner, meanwhile, runs for Congress. (To America’s credit, however, Don Blankenship didn’t win so he hitched up with the Constitution Party ticket in Florida, finished seventh in a seven pony shuffle (behind even the Socialist candidate)… Djonald Unelected called him an ingrate. Then, should anyone have to go to hospitals, their medications can be administered by robot pharmacists.
No wonder that, as the Don Jones people reported some years back, America ranked 43rd of
43 so-called “developed” nations in maternal death statistics. Behind Romania! Behind
Last! Dead last!
So no wonder the good Democrats of West Virginia in the next-to-last Congressional primaries gave over forty percent of their primary vote and a fistful of delegates to some convict with a sense of humor as nominated his fellow West Virginian, Mr. Manson, as a legal delegate to such effect as the lawyers would’ve finally agreed to patch in a satellite link to Folsom Prison or wherever and allow Crazy Charlie to ramble on in his nomination speech until some unexplained technical difficulty occurred. Fortunately, Mister Manson relieved them of responsibility by passing on to a lower place.
Remember that movie "Norma Rae" as won Oscars for all the inspiration? Well, the West Point/Stevens people in Roanoke Rapids, NC shut down the mill it was based on, "to stay efficient in a global economy." What the hey... them laid-off Normas can always go to Hollywood and act... or bet their car.
Meanwhile, Washington took a hint from Allen Otten of the Wall Street Journal as deduced how problems of the human surplus arise "...from a too-generous welfare system and an easy-on-crime approach that encourage(s) minority youths to spurn low-wage jobs." So Congress, as hadn't raised the minimum wage in a coon's age til’ that token bump at the end of George III’s reign, reversed course and lowered it after the plague generated so many millions of Americans willing to work all day for a hamburger… some for a handful of Brussels sprouts… then lowered it again for so-called "trainees"... meaning that former steel, textile and hi-tech workers making $7.15 an hour flipping burgers and stocking shelves with Chinese products were bumped down to $4.85 under ACTA, then let go, soon as their six month "training" period expired or, if they really busted their asses, raised back to $5.30 with plenty of unpaid overtime, under the Osama… oops, I mean Obama… Family Time and Workplace-Flexibility Act (FATWA) that the so-called Democratic Congress signed off with Mitchy McConnell on a promise of no more tax cuts for the rich over and above the usual pail of pork for six whole months! And then, of course, ‘Publicans signed on in another deal where the coupon-clippers got more tax cuts! Meanwhile, the lib’rals still go marching round their yellow brick roads, asking for fifteen dollars the hour.
No wonder that most ‘Murkans greeted the Gumment Shutdowns of ought-thirteen, eighteen and twenty with something akin to relief and, while appreciating front line healthcare workers, first responders, even the retail clerks and delivery drivers, expressed nothing but contempt for the Federal and some local state legislators as still haven’t raised the minimum wage for the latter.
A conservative black Boston University professor, Glenn Loury, agreed that the underclass had become "hard-edged" and no longer describes "a tragedy shared by us all." So we cut healthcare, welfare and food stamps, too, built prisons for them as turned to desperation under NAFTA, ACTA, FATWA, FEMA and such, and found some PIC jobs in that way, chainganging the new inmates of debtors’ prisons and sending ‘em out to pick the tomatoes that had been rotting on their vines since we kicked out the Mexicans. Then we claimed to get tired of taking the blame for and paying the bills for gumment prisons, so we cut millions loose and then re-arrested them on trivial and insipid parole violations, then sent them back but, this time, to the private jails or to the streets – among their fellow ‘Mericans with hearts full of hate and jackets as preclude them even qualifying for one of them four dollar chores.
Never... I say... never underestimate the ingenuity of American Entropy! Even when it's starving from having caught its right leg in a trap, it'll find ways to chew off the left one for a snack!
(Those kids we still haven’t locked up, by the way, seem to be finally getting their revenge on us old farts because of all the social media and blogging floggings they text and twit on tinier and tinier screens that old eyes can’t focus upon, therefore can’t read about their plots to poison our porridges whilst down there in one of them Caribbean nursing homes.)
Now, over in Germany, two-thirds of their student princes and princesses as don't go on to Heidelburg or Ingolstadt take what's called the "dual educations"... classroom learning combined with half-time training on real jobs. Germans shell out twenty billion deutschmarks yearly on the dual-training... to match that commitment, says the former New York Times reporter Hedrick Smith, "American industry would have to spend $60 billion a year." Back in the 90's Wisconsin, Boston and Tulsa experimented with this system... matching high schools with corporate partners in printing, healthcare, electronics and manufacturing. Gave it up... must've figured nobody'd need American printers, doctors and manufacturers! Let the Chinese do those jobs!
How many lives could we have saved over the course(s) of the Coronavirus had we steered some of those kinders into “dual educations” with the local hospital or clinic and press-ganged them into actual service once the bugs really started buggin’ out? Couldn’t import more cheap labor, tho’, Germans… even the schoolboys and girls… cost too much, the White House having sustained Chinese immigration after the fact, and the sick souls of the world’s other dysfunctional dictatorships having their own skins to save.
Sixty bil's a lot of sauerkraut; just about what IBM's Lou Gerstner said slovenly education costs America... $30 bil yearly for remedial education for new workers, as can't spell or balance checkbooks, other thirty in lost productivity from employees as don't upgrade what limited skills they've acquired in the first place. Doesn't even begin to factor in the costs of maintaining the P.I.C.
Recently, the National Assessment of Educational Progess (NAEP for short – rhymes with ruh… uh…tape?) took one of those studies on the state of American students and found ‘em… well, not getting stupider, at least, just sort of treading water while most were being passed up by those Germans, the Communist Chinese, the other Chinese and, nearly so, the Turks… the Turkish Turks, not those U.N. sorts. Spokesmen.. pardon, persons… for education hailed it as a victory.
A Catfish administration, now, that would ease the unemployment pressure by drafting all the young folk for two years and, if there weren’t no wars about for anything less than the best as would discover an appreciation of and aptitude for the special, dark services, first set some to building or renovating neighborhoods as real Americans can afford to live in, with public transit routes as will set the oil mullahs back to bubbling over with outrage. Consider David Bell, an architect of the Glasgow Development Agency (GDA), as embarrassed Maggie Thatcher by rehabilitating what was Europe's worst slum (with the possible exception of Sarajevo) at the time. Consequently, as reported Frank Viviano in the San Francisco Chronicle, "...with cheap land available to the right buyers, and most of the population living in well-kept public housing at rents one-fourth the level in London - and with office rents just 35 percent the London norm - potential employers could reduce their total costs significantly without doing so at the expense of employees' living standards."
Now, with a nod to the season, being as today is Veterans’ Day, bringing back the draft is controversial. Our millenials are so entitled and their elders so burned-out with our adventurings in Iraq, Vietnam and the like that, for all the free soda pop with lunch at Cracker Barrel they’ll score this afternoon, the soldier’s lot ain’t a happy one – even without much in the way of hot wars to get shot in. But military training can also do a lot to make up for the bad schooling and parenting and in preparing youth for jobs as an alternative to crime and welfare and, if the jobs aren’t there, we can mobilize our conscripted military to fight the fires as seem to double in number and intensity year by year by year, lay solar panels in the desert, sew plague masks and go out into the wastelands of the Northwest and kill all them Murder Hornets murdering our citizens and honeybees and, in short, do all them nifty, necessary infrastructure stuff that Djonald Unchained promised and then welshed on (to use an anti-cymrural slur) and Sleepy Joe and Mitchy are still quarrelling over. Let the kids in uniform lay railroad tracks and cybercables, clear the forests, drain the swamps and sit down with all that broken machinery nobody has the time to fix or to recycle and keep their minds and bodies occupied against the day that new hostiles… human or otherwise… think to take a poke at their Uncle Sam. Then, and only then, do they get some of them free educations that the Democrats are so keen on doling out - only this way it will matter, owing to their having gained perspective on what constitutes good and not-so-good jobs.
Might end up with a few more engineers and virologists, a few less attorneys.
Hell – might even subsidize some going to law schools, the really smart ones – although James Madison, Harvard and the U. of Chicago would be off my own guest list.
And, where there flat-out warn't no chance of real jobs coming back, I'd do as ancient Egyptians did with their surplus labor... erecting "works of magnificence or utility", giant pyramids and oubliettes as might persuade tourists of 6020 AD (if human beans with tolerable vision and disposable incomes survive that long!) that America left more behind than broken, indestructible fragments of yellow plastic from Qual-Mart "Q's", shattered porcelain toilet bowls and wild white rats with human ears growing out'n their backs! If The President and The Republicans sign on, might even let the swamp creatures have the use of some for their tombs.
"In the whirlpool of decline," contends historian Mike Lazin, "populism too easily becomes a language of the dispirited, the vengeful, and the cynical - of young men spoiling for a fight." (Or – an illicit $400 haircut!) In the brainwash of virtual prosperity, this populist old grouch replies: "Lift those hick’ry sticks and bring the li’l bastards on!"
CLICK the CATFISH to go to PAST and PRESENT EPISODES of "BLACK HELICOPTERS" and to OTHER JACK PARNELL COLUMNS