Tuesday, October 25, 2011

To The Occupiers: My First Job Was Shovelling Gravel, What Was Yours?

My sympathies do not lie with the Occupiers. However, there are some systemic problems in the US worth addressing. I suspect the Tea Partiers will do a better job than the "give-us-free-condoms" Occupiers at addressing these, but I'll leave that for you to decide.

Here's my list:

1. US federal government "equity" policies which required banks to throw money at anyone with a pulse -- even if that pulse was sustained by welfare cheques. This was a flight from conservative fiscal reality with devastating consequences. Home ownership is an earned right, not a birth-right.

2. The federal government's aiding and abetting of the banks by easing good-sense policy constraints, etc. in the name of fuelling an artificial prosperity.

3. The immoral and unethical if not illegal actions of the banks in milking the real estate bubble for all it was worth, including creation of those slice-and-dice mortgage instruments. When scouting for real estate in Phoenix, I came across one property where the purchase price was $285,000, and the mortgage was for... $300,000. That's right, folks. The owner had negative equity in the property from the get-go.

4. The federal government's bailout of the banks, unaccompanied by censure and restrictions going forward. "All gain, no pain".

5. The federal government's student loans program which has apparently enabled universities to charge ever-increasing  tuition fees, leaving graduates deeply in debt and, in this economy, with no viable game-plan to pay it off.

6. The assumption that life should be easy and "meaningful" jobs plentiful. To the Occupiers: My first job after university was shovelling gravel. What was yours?

Has the US passed its tipping-point? Probably. Because the tipping point is moral, and those with power have lost the moral restraint necessary for good governance. Much easier to live the good life now at taxpayers' expense. Kick the consequences down the road. The US needs a religious awakening, at just a time when Christianity is oozing out of American life and consciousness.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.


Anonymous said...

When I was about 6 I noticed that my Sister would pay me .25 to dance for her friends to Chubby Checkers tunes because it was cute. The concept of compensation for work was cool, so then I saw how i could cut lawns in the summer and shovel snow in the winter for $1.50-$2.00 each.
I saw how I could collect pop bottles at .02 cents each and buy smokes at .18 cents a pack, i also saw how the Scouts taught me about Civic duty to raise money for the United Way going door to door for the less fortunate in the pre-health care days of canada.
At 14 I started a part-time job because I looked older and only had to be 13 for a SIN card which no one questioned , I paid for part of my school cost after my parents seperated. At 16 I got a regular job part-time at night while in High school to buy my supplies and clothes as my mother also had to work too.

After 40 years of work i still do acts of charity for giving money and my time, unlike the TTC that pay workers $30.00 as they raise money for the United way by selling pizza's at Union Station as someone covers for them at $30.00 an hour back at their job.

I fixed and made Club clubs( sets of Woods), i did many driving jobs in the cold winters, I worked nights,I shoveled snow and cut grass, did Security work, moved furniture and Offices for United van Lines,took 50% pay cuts to get experience at a new job for a better future,raised money for Variety Village and Wheelchair friendly coaches to take kids to events in the early 1980's, volunteered in local Plays and the Musicals as a musician or singer, funded summer-camp programs for single parents on a budget, sponsored a Xmas Food basket for families, supported sopu kitchen or Food truck run by Sally Anne in Toronto.

I NEVER sat back and expected socirty to suport me, I never chose to buy a gun and sell drugs as a victim of poverty,and i never pitched a tent on downtown Toront ot shame my family and look like a pathetic loser boasting about how lazy and spoiled I was to want free University, 100% employment in a high paying Goverment job, mocking fast-food oppresser that expoit the Brown people in canada as I still eat there and have a iPhone or Blackberry wireless service and drive my moms SUV.

God help the kids of the future in 20 years as their parents rant about oppression in canada and teach them to have even lower expectation in life and hwo they can choose to be a career welfare case and whiner because of the Capitalistic system they hate so much but never want to leave .

Oh ya, I never went to a HUman Rights rally with my pro-hamas scarf or Che button and USSR flags as hamas murdered gays in gaza and Che had onece beaten the crap ot of wmone before he would rape them and then kill most of them.
But don't tell that to the useful-idiots on campus that can't see the truth and irony for the gay groups that are now in bed with the pro-hamas thugs or Saudi backed islamofascists demanding Mosques in every school; and University.

Joe said...

I put myself through university by working labour jobs. One summer I was 'building a bridge' over the Red Deer river. Well actually most of my job was digging dirt with an idiot stick. An idiot stick is a long stick with a shovel on one end and an idiot on another. One day while forming the excavation for the east side abutment a carpenter wandered by and made the snide comment, "Work you ba***rd you wouldn't go to school". I looked him in the eye and calmly informed him that I was earning enough money to complete my second year of engineering. The carpenter disappeared rather quickly and wouldn't talk to me for days.

RkBall said...

Wow -- two of the best posts ever.

Anon1152 said...

Of your six points, I can agree with four of them: the ones in the middle (numbers 2 through 5). In terms of percentages, that's like a 67% agreement. As UofT grades go, that's no so bad...

About point #6... I'm not particularly against this. I think the "first job" question is (perhaps) interesting/important. My questions for you would be:
- how much did that job pay at the time?
- what is that in today's dollars?
- how long did you have that job?
- what was your third, fourth, fifth, etc job after university?
- did you find meaningful work and was that important to you?

As for the complaint about: "The assumption that life should be easy and "meaningful" jobs plentiful"... I might agree with you. But I'm not sure. I think part of my problem (or the reason for my hesitation here) is that the assumption you speak of (whether it is made by the OWS people or by you) joins two (potentially) incompatible things. Meaningful work is rarely, if ever, easy.


Your first point is something I would have to research more before saying anything with confidence. I read and listen to and watch the news (in that order) and try to educate myself about the world around me (its past, its future) and I take issue with your claim that one problem has been "policies which required banks to throw money at anyone with a pulse -- even if that pulse was sustained by welfare cheques". What policies? What is your evidence of this? (I need something other than Fox News and Glenn Beck as sources).

I hold the government partially responsible for the credit crisis. But that's because I think there have been problems with regulation... things you bring up in points 2, 3 and 4... and your complaints there might contradict (or at least stand in some sort of tension with) your complaint in point #1.

Anon1152 said...

"Well actually most of my job was digging dirt with an idiot stick. An idiot stick is a long stick with a shovel on one end and an idiot on another."

That is the best definition of "idiot stick" I've ever seen. And only now (over a decade later) do I realize that I had to use one during a summer job (after my first year of University).

My stick and shovel are long gone. The idiot remains.

RkBall said...

1. Shovelling gravel $2.50/hr.
2. Junior programmer $3.50/hr.
3. Programmer/analyst $17,100/yr
4. promotions up to Methods Advisor
5. Small business owner software engineering training with world-wide reach
6. Volunteer apologetics teacher Trans-Africa Theological College $0.00/hr

Very satisfying. I give the Lord the credit and praise.

RkBall said...

First point -- Bill Clinton insisted that banks loosen up their mortgage criteria so underachieving segments of society could own homes. Believe it or not, welfare checks counted as a source of income for eligibility! GWB tried to tell Congress that Fannie Mae/Mac were out of control and making reckless loans, but Congress wouldn't hear of it. It was all ideological and it was leftist wishful thinking rather than reality-based conservativism. The banks were encouraged by government to be reckless, and they were.

RkBall said...

"Well actually most of my job was digging dirt with an idiot stick"

We should form a club. We are part of an elite crowd. Well maybe elite is the wrong word.

Anon1152 said...

1. Shovelling gravel $2.50/hr.

2. Junior programmer $3.50/hr.

3. Programmer/analyst $17,100/yr


Would it be rude to ask when this was? A quick google search (which I don't trust completely) tells me that a minimum wage was first established in Ontario in 1965 at 1 dollar per hour. By 1979, it had risen to 3 dollars per hour. I'm guessing that you started programming in the 70s? (Out of curiosity... did you ever have a computer with vacuum tubes? My first Computer was an IBM clone... and 8088... but I digress. I once had a radio with vacuum tubes, but I think it suffered the fate of many gadgets I had access to when I was young... I took it apart and couldn't put it back together again).

Anyway. $3.50 per hour in 1970 would be $20.69 per hour in 2011. $2.50 in 1970 would be $14.78. But I'm not sure of the dates involved, so I can't be sure of the real wages.





Anon1152 said...

"We should form a club. We are part of an elite crowd. Well maybe elite is the wrong word."

Maybe we should form a union.

... Sorry. Couldn't help myself.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"