Posts Tagged ‘midwesterners’

Yes, we’re just too damn lazy

April 12, 2017

At least that appears to be what economist Tyler Cowen thinks. I don’t know about most people, but my wife and I work our asses off working, raising our kids, and renovating our house. We cook most of our meals and do our own minor maintenance on our vehicles. The amount of time we get to spend with each other is maybe 90 minutes a night on weekdays, while the weekends fluctuate a bit because we are continually trying to fit more into our days.

Cowen talks about the midwest knowing the “answers” for why the economy is tanking, and it’s that we’re lazy. Not that we’re overburdened. Not that going to college dumps tens of thousands (if you’re lucky it’s that low) of debt onto you. That those of us who should be in the most aggressive stages of our careers were kneecapped by the financial crisis and still haven’t recovered (and likely never will, as our earnings will be lower at every step of our careers than those who came before us and those who will follow us).

We don’t start new businesses or move every five years or anything else because we can’t. ¬†We have two kids. Right now we have insurance through an employer. We have a roof over our heads. No, that’s not something we can toss to the wind and hope it comes out on the right side. Not when things like Amazon and Wal-Mart make a business putting folks like my wife and I out of business. Not that we could get a small business loan to begin with (circle back to those college loans and now our house loan and, looky there, there’s a mound of debt there). And then there is the shrinking social safety net that the GOP looks to continually chip away at because, I don’t know, Amurica or something.

This isn’t laziness. This is just reality for the majority of us. Our jobs don’t pay enough, our debt load is too high, and there isn’t a good enough social safety net to catch us if we fall. Want us to take more chances? Make us less desperate just to hang on. Make it so we know we can take our kids to the doctor ¬†because we have a single payer health care system. Make going to college affordable for our kids since it wasn’t for us. Maybe invest our tax money into our infrastructure and schools instead of into air craft carriers (though I guess bringing up military spending as a place where we can pull back on our budget makes me a bad American, huh Standler?) .

While Cowen laments white males earning less in 2015 than they did in 1969, instead of saying it’s because America is too lazy maybe it’s because the Right has fought tooth and nail to destroy unions for the past thirty years. Maybe it’s the result of high paying manufacturing jobs off-shoring or being lost to automation. Maybe it’s the fact that the minimum wage has been allowed to fall so far behind inflation that it’s worth less now than it was in 1969, too.

We are not lazy. We are not drug addicts. We are not monsters. We’re Americans. We work hard.

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