The Most Popular Burger Flipper in America

I have a friend (yes, some people actually like me) who was having problems with his teen aged son.  My friend was called to school one day and the Principal told him “Joe” would most likely fail 8th grade.  He could go to summer school, but his chances of passing were still grim.  Joe is not a very motivated kid and also has minor learning disabilities that made school a frustrating, boring experience for him.  My friend said that his son should be held back a grade if he wasn’t passing his classes.  So did Joe’s mother.  The principal refused on the grounds that being held back might lessen Joe’s self-esteem.  My friend responded “Oh, goody!  My kid will be the most popular burger flipper in America!” Needless to say, Joe dropped out of high school and received his GED a few years later.  He has had several minimum wage jobs, but they never seem to last very long.

“Among hourly-paid workers age 16 and over, about 11 percent of those who had less than a high school diploma earned the Federal minimum wage or less, compared with about 5 percent of those who had a high school diploma (with no college) and about 2 percent of college graduates.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011)

I am surprised that any children try hard in school anymore.  I want to believe that most still do.  But why bother?  Chances are that they will never be Valedictorians because that might hurt someone’s feelings.

I know that not all of those who are unemployed are Millennials, but a good amount are.  When you go through life never having to try, never having to face adversity, can you imagine what a shock working in the real world must be?  If you lose your job, why bother looking for another one right away?  Who wants to face that hassle?  “The number of unemployed youth in July 2013 was 3.8 million, compared with 4.0 million a year ago. The youth unemployment rate was 16.3 percent in July 2013. Among the major demographic groups, unemployment rates were lower than a year earlier in July for young women (14.8 percent) and whites (13.9 percent), while jobless rates changed little for young men (17.6 percent), blacks (28.2 percent), Asians (15.0 percent), and Hispanics (18.1 percent).” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013)

But, our revered Prevaricator in Chief does not think that a fair percentage of those on Unemployment will take advantage of it and sit on the couch playing video games and smoking weed.  NO!  Who would do THAT!?!?  Uhm, perhaps the now grown-ups who always won in school because everyone gets a trophy?  Maybe the Millennials who passed every test and quiz because it would be detrimental to their egos if they saw anything lower than a B on their papers?  Or maybe the former kids who received their grades in purple ink because red was just too mean?

“Voting for extending unemployment insurance helps people and creates jobs,” Obama said. “Voting against it doesn’t.” (Barack Obama, 2014)  If extending it hasn’t created jobs or helped people by now, it sure isn’t going to cure the jobs crisis anytime soon!

My point is that maybe we have taught our children that even if they don’t try, they win!  SNAP, Unemployment, Medicaid (unless they are young enough to be on their parents’ insurance), LEAP, etc., etc. will be their saving grace.

No, an Education system filled with teachers and administrators that worry more about teaching children the skills they need to face real life and less about what the Unions can do for them is what our kids need.  (I know those teachers are out there and they work their hearts out every day, but they are fighting the machine that is the federal government). Kids need to learn that you don’t always win, that red ink is just a color and, yes, there will be people in life who are better at some things than you are.  I just feel as though our kids are being sold short because schools no longer teach them to push the limits of their abilities.  They are not taught to use their minds to solve problems – the solutions are given to them without an explanation as to how it was done.  Self-esteem is important, no doubt.  But do you really have a healthy grasp on your self-esteem if you are being coddled throughout your school years?  The government needs to stop creating programs that force teachers to teach to the test.  The government needs to leave decisions about education to the residents of the individual states and keep their damned noses out of it.

Minimum wage jobs are not what you aspire to, they are what you rise from.  Unemployment is an emergency back-up in case you find yourself in a horrible bind.  It is something that will keep you fed and clothed while you look for your next job.

Even healthy middle-aged people take advantage of all of the government programs that are now available to them.  Some look at unemployment as a mini paid vacation.  However, it is going to end some day and those who took advantage are going to find it harder to get a decent job because they have been out of the loop for so long.  They might end up applying for the same jobs as Joe.

I never thought I would say any nice things about Bill Clinton, but I am beginning to miss him – just a little.  When he extended unemployment, it was a temporary extension that got people through a rough economic time.  He also put programs in place, along with Congress, to help the economy recover.  The states fought to get companies to open in their back yards and give job opportunities to their residents.  It worked.  Minimal federal intervention and strong state actions brought us back.

I don’t think Obama wants us to succeed.  He wants us to feed at the government trough and become dependent upon Washington to wipe our butts.

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