This is my second attempt at writing this post about an important topic that is sort of nebulous and hard to pin down with one definition. What has been spelled out as the discontent of average working people, a rather anonymous mass of nobodies of which I am one, has about as many meanings as there are people in it.
Being able to speak for only myself, my opinion is that those who are able to have an op-ed published in the NYT telling elites to stop apologizing to the middle class and instead make college more affordable so that they can be elites also, or write for the Editors at Bloomberg saying that a high school diploma should mean something are missing the point.
I want to acknowledge the thought that was put into to why many of us feel left out and/or put upon with the only way we have to be heard when no one seems to listen is at the ballot box. I am very grateful for the time put into trying to help make the world a better place for everyone, regardless of who they are. Neither of these organizations had to publish anything about why the middle class is discontent and it deserves a thank you.
Anecdotally, however, I am aware of many people who experienced a turn in the revolving unemployment line during the last handful of years with the average duration of unemployment being around a year. Most of them are people with graduate degrees that I’ve worked with in the past, and at least one them having post-graduate in computer science from MIT. So I cannot say for sure that an emphasis on education is necessarily the correct approach when a master’s from MIT doesn’t seem to provide much security or relief from the sitting the bench.
I happened to get caught up in the mess in 2008 and was out of work until 2012 with the added bonus of having been turned down by Lowes, Home Depot, WalMart, and every grocery store and fast food joint around. Despite my degree and 15-year record of continuous employment, I was experiencing involuntary retirement while young, on the hungrier side of hungry and feeling like I was just waiting for death except for the moments I spent fighting to keep my house.
Now just imagine the big hand of fate slamming down on you, threatening everything you spent your life building down to your very survival and humbling you to your core, knowing not from whence it came.
It would piss you off. Saying it pissed me off would be an understatement.
If you’re like me at all, when someone or a group of someones cause such egregious damage to you, you stay pissed off until satisfied in equal proportion to the harm. I am having trouble remembering this horror and being polite, but I am trying. Please do not insult me by assuming I am uneducated and unemployable. I know better.
It isn’t about how I experienced the Great Recession, but I know my experience. I KNOW what layoffs mean. But the question I have to ask is: Do YOU know what layoffs mean to the people who are laid off? Do YOU care? If so, do YOU act like you care or are these people just nothing more than $$$ or dots on a chart?
I’ve seen a lot of crap published on Bloomberg that leads to the conclusion that neither they nor their audience have any clue about this at all. We are all but invisible deadbeats once we no longer impact the bottom line. By the way, I really loved the piece on the need to create more unemployment to avoid inflation and the one about hiding “tax the rich” in everyone’s paycheck. Nice touch of civility there.