The US labor status

Wurkkos

turbodog

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... if we only produced & manufactured goods in the US;;; maybe those huge ships could bring in workers happy to work.

...

As long as you're ready to pay more for the same or less quality goods and have your kids grow up to work in the sock factory, then go for it, all the while watching third world economies struggle to feed their citizens because nobody will trade with them.
 

turbodog

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... As at least a few observers have stated, at some point you decide the game is rigged, drop out and get angry - and what you get angry at might happen to be what's right in front of you rather than a more considered target.

Rigged, to me, denotes unfair, and I do not think the US is unfair in that a motivated person can move upwards.

However, what can sometimes work for one person in certain circumstances, does not work for everyone in all circumstances... which should be the goal for public policy.

I'd say it's biased/weighted, some by remnants of racism, and others by accident.

School funding is tied to property taxes... which means affluent areas have great, well-funded schools. Local HS near here spent 30 something thousand dollars (via the PTO) on landscaping. This was in addition to the already-installed landscaping when the place was freshly built the year before.

Proper & equitable school funding would help a LOT. But this would take generations to pay dividends. It's a real root cause, but people don't have the patience for it.

You used to have a more heterogeneous mix of people in areas. Now, certain types of people go to college, find like-minded peers, get married, and move to like-minded areas. Wealth is getting more concentrated.

A LOT of people are locked into their jobs due to insurance/healthcare. Single-payer would fix this in one fell swoop. I personally know a good number that could afford to retire but can't till they reach medicare age... which ironically is socialized healthcare. They are keeping the younger workers 'locked out' of the higher tier (higher paying) jobs.
 

jtr1962

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Rigged, to me, denotes unfair, and I do not think the US is unfair in that a motivated person can move upwards.

However, what can sometimes work for one person in certain circumstances, does not work for everyone in all circumstances... which should be the goal for public policy.

I'd say it's biased/weighted, some by remnants of racism, and others by accident.
This book might be next on my reading list:


The author suggests success is 95% luck and 5% ability. This study points in that direction.

Of course, this applies only if we narrowly define "success" by wealth, not by other measures.

"Rigged" might not be the best word for the current system, but being in the right place at the right time plays a much larger role than it should. The long list of measures you mentioned would certainly help. I'll add that some means of matching talent to jobs, perhaps a national database, would greatly help reduce the luck factor.

Don't know if you heard of the "lying flat" movement in China but it's a direct result of a system where people feel nothing within their direct control will improve their situation, so there's no point even trying.
 

scout24

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I'm curious as to why everyone is suddenly trying to redefine a system that has worked for generations. In the U.S., you can go as far as your aptitude, intellect, and work ethic will take you. Get your A$$ out of bed. Show up 10 minutes early, sober, dressed to work, and do your job. Done? Bored? Grab a broom. You'll move up, trust me. Unhappy? Try something else, get an education, or realize this is where you're going to be if you can't or won't do either of those things. "I'm unhappy working just to feed my family." Welcome to life. If you don't work, you don't eat. Anyone here ever hear their parents say the world needs ditch diggers too? We simply cannot have a society of people who get paid to sharpen colored pencils and drink lattes while playing games on their phones. Not everyone gets to be an astronaut. We need blue collar workers. We need infrastructure built and maintained. We need truck drivers. I have far more respect for the trash collector who gets up at 4am, does his job, picks up an extra shift now and then to buy Christmas presents for his kids than for the person explaining to me how his life sucks and he should be able to quit and sit home because he's unhappy. We as a society seem to be thrilled today to find ways to create a victim class of people and it's sad. Don't like riding the back of the garbage truck emptying the cans? Work hard, get your CDL, and be the guy driving the truck. We need to stop looking for solutions to percieved problems as a hobby and let people find their motivation and make their situation better on their own.

Want to make kids understand the above? Join the military. No better way to learn merit based advancement and work ethic if mommy and daddy didn't teach them.
 
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jtr1962

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Sorry, but I beg to disagree. Vehemently. That worked for my parent's generation, possibly also for the first half of the boomer generation. Hasn't worked out all that great for anyone since. Get an education? I know lots of people who did. Smart people, not lazy at all. And now most are living paycheck to paycheck. Not because they're living beyond their means. No, they're barely paying for the necessities.

In most places there's only so far you can move up. If the person who's been there 20 years is basically doing the same job as you, maybe for 20% more pay, that kind of tells you what you have in store if you stay there. You can't move up when opportunities largely don't exist, no matter how hard you work. Also, we're reaching hard limits on future growth due to resource constraints, and you have people in charge who don't even notice which of their subordinates are better. That's why everyone is trying to redefine the system. If it worked so well, why would they? My parents didn't have to redefine the system because it worked well enough for them that even people with high school diplomas could raise a family on one salary, and find housing for 1/4 of their take-home pay. And pay for college waiting tables or doing something similar. When you got that degree, you could literally write you own ticket like my aforementioned uncle did.

Also, maybe people are finally realizing there's more to life than work and being defined by your job, especially when things my parents took for granted are increasingly out of reach. Or put another way, what you do shouldn't take up so much of your time that you have no real life until you're able to retire. Worker productivity has increased more than 3 times since WWII but the workers themselves never benefited from these gains.

This isn't about blue versus white collar workers, either. Both are needed, although the former will be the first to be displaced by automation. Rather, it's about the notion that nobody is to blame except themselves for their own situation. I used to think that way also, until I saw lots of smart, capable people fall by the wayside through no fault of their own.

Lifespan is really one of the best metrics for measuring how we're doing overall. It was falling in the US pre-pandemic, even as it was still rising in other countries.

If you don't work, you don't eat.
Should this apply to my mother, too? She hasn't been able to work since her mid 40s, at least paid work. People contribute in different ways, not all in conventional ways.

 
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scout24

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If you don't work, you don't eat. Applies to those capable but unwilling. Those who won't get off the couch. You know quite well what my point was, I presume you read the whole post for context. We have raised the softest, most entitled generation(s) of people in history these last 25+/- years.

If you want to move up but can't, move locale. Re-educate. Reinvent. Don't complain. Or accept your situation.

Educated and barely paying for the necessities. I hear this a lot from the Iphone? Netflix? $200 cable bill? Newer car? Scale down. Move to a less expensive area. Especially your work-from-home model: Should be able to make NYC Metro money from Boise, Idaho, no?

Disagree all you want, but do it after you're hustling and working your *** off, not because you don't want to. There are plenty of kids for whom the model I laid out works for. Give it a try for a year or three before telling me it doesn't work, nobody waltzes into middle management. Gotta hustle and earn it.

No room to advance? Did you stop to think maybe you picked the wrong career field? Spent a bunch of money you couldn't afford on a degree with no ROI?
 

bykfixer

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They used to make me ride at the back of the bus. One day I bought the bus and now I ride where I want to.
- Herman Kaine (rip)

I put myself through college by paying as I went after working a full day. Later on I went back to college to learn another trade in case plan A played out. When taking the entrance test the instructor said I had a handicap and could take the handicap version. My reply was "so if I apply for a bank president job do I fill out the handicap version?" She stuttered and stammered "but sir, you're at a disadvantage because you are dislexic". My reply was "that just means I have a unique perspective of things".

Yeah, it took longer to reach a level many achieved much sooner. So what? My goal was never to reach a certain status or title. It was to enjoy the way I earn a living. And if the day ever arrived that I got to sit in that big fluffy boss chair that's just a bonus. The day the big fluffy boss chair was mine I traded it for a chair like everybody else sets in. That $500 leather chair was like sitting on a warm marshmallow. No thanks.

Years ago a boss was talking about his eventual replacement. I said "it might be me some day". His reply was "you? probably not"……I was joking, he was not. Last week I called him on the phone and said "hey dude, wanna come work for me this winter?"

Many of my younger coworkers want what it took me decades to achieve……right now, 18 months out of college. They left college $100k in debt. For what? Did that $100k get them a better education than I got? We both learned 2+2=4. We both learned what load 4" of snow places on a roof or when it rains X gallons reach the bottom of the hill in Y seconds. They honestly believe what the tv and society says instead of applying logic to their daily lives. Meanwhile the "kid" who was in Iraq a few years ago understands life at the bottom means the only place to go is up.
 

jtr1962

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The big problem is you're equating success with money. Like I said, there's more to life than work and material things. Maybe the generation you're calling entitled just has a different value system than you. I know all about scaling down. Never owned a car, don't care about fancy clothes, never had a cell phone. Problem is far too many people I've known live like that and still are just making it.

No room to advance? Did you stop to think maybe you picked the wrong career field? Spent a bunch of money you couldn't afford on a degree with no ROI?
This isn't about me. I'm almost 59, I'm taking care of my mother now. I retired a little less than four years ago. Whatever I was going to do I already did, for better or for worse. Engineering degree, Ivy league school. Sent out over 300 resumes after graduation and didn't even get an interview. When my loans when into default I got desperate and took whatever garbage jobs I could find. The parting "gift" from those stupid jobs was severe CTS which I have to this day. After getting laid off from one of those jobs I just started working for myself from home. Not a great living, but no worse than staying at those aforementioned jobs, and I put in a lot fewer hours to make the same money. Couldn't work full-time anymore thanks to the CTS anyway.

Moving isn't an option for many. Let's put aside for a moment what being alone in a strange place away from everyone you know does to you. There's the very practical problem of cost. Besides, most people don't move unless they actually have a job lined up in the new place.

We'll just have to agree to disagree I guess.
 
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scout24

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Great post, Byk. Jtr- Yup, we'll just have to disagree. We can do that and still be civil. Un-triggered. No safe spaces. No emotional support animals. Like adults. Like people used to do... 😉😘😁
 

jtr1962

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Many of my younger coworkers want what it took me decades to achieve……right now, 18 months out of college. They left college $100k in debt. For what? Did that $100k get them a better education than I got? We both learned 2+2=4. We both learned what load 4" of snow places on a roof or when it rains X gallons reach the bottom of the hill in Y seconds. They honestly believe what the tv and society says instead of applying logic to their daily lives. Meanwhile the "kid" who was in Iraq a few years ago understands life at the bottom means the only place to go is up.
Ever think that's the problem, the sheer cost inflation of college degrees these days? Now add to that housing costs which in real terms are several times what my parents paid. Also add in car expenses in most parts of the country, whereas my parents generation had a lot more that was accessible by public transit or walking.

Everyone wants to start at the top. It's just human nature. You might want to stop and think if what took you decades to achieve might even still be possible for someone just starting out. I hardly had a stellar career but even what I managed I would say is no longer possible for someone my niece's age. As I said, all this rethinking about life and work we're now seeing wouldn't be happening if things were so wonderful.

That's it for now. I'm only up now because I was on flood watch all night with the heavy rains. Thankfully the basement is dry so far. No repeat of the foot of water I got from Hurricane Ida.
 

scout24

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Agreed! I was simply poking fun at the stereotype...

I am/was as blue collar as it gets. Followed the advice above and the examples of my parents and grandparents. Did ok for myself. Tried instilling the same in my kids. My oldest is 28 today, graduated mid-class (3.2 gpa) with a chemical engineering degree while working at a printing company running presses during his time at school. He got promoted in August to senior engineer at the company he works for. Smart, driven, not afraid to get his hands dirty down on the production floor. Youngest is 26, works running cnc machines turning out industrial parts. Step daughter (23) is a nurse, paying back loans while raising her son with her boyfriend. Stepson works retail while paying for school. (25) It can be done, gotta get out of bed and show up early. Work from there...
 
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turbodog

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... we're reaching hard limits on future growth due to resource constraints...

Absolutely false, unless you mean a lack of employees. I have hundred of corporate clients, and their growth is constrained only by employees and market share.
 

orbital

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.. or less quality goods and have your kids grow up to work in the sock factory..
+

Not talking about socks.
_______________________________
Combined, look at every single item sold in:

Lowe's
Home Depot
Best Buy

What percentage of every item sold/carried, are produced in the US?
maybe 15% .

...and I didn't even mention Walmart & Amazon.
 

turbodog

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+

Not talking about socks.
_______________________________
Combined, look at every single item sold in:

Lowe's
Home Depot
Best Buy

What percentage of every item sold/carried, are produced in the US?
maybe 15% .

...and I didn't even mention Walmart & Amazon.

Whether socks or water hoses my point still stands. And get ready for markedly higher prices also.

The US's exporting our economic policy via trade is winning people to the side of free markets and democracy. It stabilizes countries. Nobody wants to go to war with a trade ally.
 

bykfixer

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1E96AD8F-A721-443E-8515-9CA59B3B48EC.jpeg

Here's my emotional support animal.
You hurt my wittle feewings and he flies across the room, bites you on the nose and flies back onto my shoulder.
He was made in south America. So yeah, he's American made.

The way I was raised: success means your preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral and you left the place a little better when you die.

Both of my sons have it different than I did. Times change. My kids drive better cars than I do too. They've earned that though. They live within their means. College was paid for as they went, they both have jobs with a future in the service industry because they do jobs machines won't replace someday. They both have advanced slowly and neither think the sky is falling. They have light blue collar careers.

My wife's kids are blue collar workers who go to work every day the job requires and come home smiling most days. One struggles but it's his own doing and he fully understands that.

None think life owes them anything. They all understand the only money tree out back is the one they plant, and if they water it, fertilize it and good fortune shines their way it will be a fruit filled one.
 

bykfixer

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I dunno about that KG, but if you aint careful my support animal will hit you with his hydroturdism along with a nice peck on the nose.

He wakes up every day at sunrise and goes to work in burglar alarm mode until 9pm, 7 days a week. Heck, he lets the hounds know if it's just the ups man or some nit wit trying to steal something from Mrs Fixers chariot.

We have this one kid in my neighborhood who looks 8 but says he's 12 who does odd jobs for neighbors. Not long ago a new neighbor was building a privacy fence and there was that little dude handing the guy lumber as he pre-cut sections to length. It was one of those hot days where the humidity was so thick you could see it and that little dude hung in their all day. When it snows I pay him to shovel shut in neighbors sidewalks and loan him the tools to do it. He works cheap too, 😂
 
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greenpondmike

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I like your bird bykfixer. Maybe he has wisdom like my chickens do.

My hat's off to you, scout24 and others of the same viewpoint.......PREACH IT BROTHERS!! I agree with yall 100%.

Snow flake hot pockets need to get off their entitled donkies get out of their momma's basement and get a job and quit looking for the government to support them off of OUR tax dollars. Most of the DEPENDABLE work force nowadays are older people. The younger generation are too lazy to even make a decent hamburger. Most only want to draw a check with the least amount of work possible.

Young abled bodied women come to work at the store my mother in law works at and want to sit on their butt and cause her to do all the work even though she has bad pain in her back and legs like I do and breathing problems like my wife does. Dog gone self centered mealy mouthed entitled LAZY younguns. Not saying at all that all are like that, but most are. They need to just shut their traps and bow up and do some work.
 
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