The problem of getting people back to work is a multifaceted one. It is a problem caused largely by the COVID-19 virus but that is just the wrapping.
Before COVID-19 was dropped on us, we had a number of issues aggravating our work force all of which were and are made worse due to the impact of the COVID curse.
For instance, we already were witnessing a diminishing educational platform for trade schools, child care problems, pay disparities based on gender, burgeoning job losses due to NAFTA and other legislation, wage disparities, personal disconnect from company loyalty needs and the list goes on.
No one seems to want to talk about those realities these days but, taken together, they add up to changing the question from why employees won’t go back to work to why would they?
COVID-19 was as much a focusing lens on the conditions of the American worker as a bomb to set our economy back on its heels. The conditions of the American worker were going downhill for many years. Ross Perot tried to tell us what was going to happen if we forsook our country to advance China — and others.
We had every reason to understand how bad things would become because the wage/production disparity already had been going on since around 1970. We had no good reason to be fooled by the political talk and/or the political ambitions to embrace the needs of communist China. Nixon unlocked the door; Clinton threw it open. Trump took a business/worker approach to starting a fix for American workers and Biden hasn’t a clue what to do except to declare something about China “eating our lunch.”
I believe American workers have every right to be deeply upset at the economic crucible within which they are struggling. Sure, businesses need folks to come forward and pick up the work load. Of course. Everyone knows that the workforce needs to be reconstituted — and fast.
But, conservative as I am, I think it is only fair to ask why anyone should get all excited about going back to work for wages that cannot support a family. What kind of a life can a couple with one child have at, say, 12 to 15 bucks per hour? Figure it out.
So, because our economy has been given away, we are going back to the old way of splitting families because mom and dad must both work just to make a rudimentary life. We used to brag about how women needed to be paid equal to men for equal work performed. Right. I was in that revolution but we didn’t have the courage and foresight to really weigh the impact of absent, worn-out parents on the children.
By correctly clamoring for equal pay while then creating a pay/production disparity, we sacrificed our families, our middle class and our future for what? Equal pay isn’t a full reality. The middle class is a garden without water. We are $28 trillion in debt and we want business to make it all right by somehow getting enough income to make American great again.
Business can only work to do the right thing when politicians do the right thing. We are regulated but to no standard of fairness, intelligence and security that enables the kind of profit necessary to cuddle risk.
To be fair and honest, the current congressional nutcases should stand up in front of the American workers and tell them exactly why, in the long run, they should be joyful about going back to work.
They should tell the workers exactly how their lives will realistically fit within the American dream — and what that dream is exactly. If, however, they believe people should go back to work because we are out of freebies and things are looking bad, they should say that. Full and complete honesty by those who really know the full truth of what has been going on economically for the past 50 years needs to be told now.
I believe this is a time for a national educational experience presented by a non-political, balanced, honest and courageous commission. This would give everyone a grounding about how and why their lives might be going forward.
Want reconciliation and reparations? Try telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to those we now count on to pull us through to a better day.