Friday Fives – how the man keeps you down!

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Are you a good worker?

How do you mean?  Like… am I good at what I do?  Am I as productive as I could be?  I’ll answer both, but I remain suspicious of your motives.  The answers are yes, and no.

Ok, since you brought this up, I have a whole rant that has been building in my head for years.  I wanted it to be its own piece, but it ended up being boring and preachy.  Here is said rant >

The right/Republicans/conservatives (call them whatever you want) have this mythological fantasy of the working class.  They say that Americans WANT to work.  They said all these great masses of hard American workers needs only thing – the Govt off their back.  The philosophy of the right is to get government out of the way of the great proletariat working class so they can succeed on their own.

I have worked long enough to tell you I don’t think there really is this huge hulking mass of people eager to be successful on their own terms but can’t because of government interference.  It’s a great idea, and I just love it.  Unfortunately, human nature kicks in.  People are working, very simply, because they have to.  It doesn’t mean we don’t work hard, and it doesn’t mean we don’t take pride in our work.  If American productivity is suffering, it is because of human nature – laziness and sloth and self interest.  This isn’t even an American problem… it is simply human nature.

Here is where it gets sinister.  In the guise of helping the ‘poor and struggling working class’, the conservatives want to strip away govt regulation of everything.  If not to benefit the working class, then who is it for?  So corporations can run amok with pollution, and no regard for labor laws.  This movement means that not only is the government not looking out for you, but they are making it easier for your boss to screw you.  They have an answer to this, too.

It’s known as ‘trickle down economics’.  By letting your boss only pay you minimum wage, and skirt all matter of regulations, he gets to make much more money.  With all that money, he can employ more people, right?  And he can afford to go to the movies, which is good for the local economy at the movie theater.  And he can afford to do out to nice dinners, which is good for the restaurant economy, and the parking valet economy.  And he can afford to pay you more, so that you can do all those nice things that also help the economy.  A rising tide lifts all boats, right?  Except… it doesn’t work.  We have learned that the rich just pocket the net difference and don’t do shit for those below them.  This is why while the rich keep getting richer, the wages for middle class working Americans haven’t moved in 40 years.

All these shortcuts for business owners DOES help the business owners, that is true.  However, the business owners are, by definition, not the working class.  They are the bourgeois (pronounced boozh-wah), which means ‘the owners of the means of production’.  The actual worker bees… doing the actual work… they are the ‘proletariat’.  Of course, this is a simplified explanation of a very complex issue.  Just know that odds are, you are probably getting screwed.  The conservatives not only aren’t helping you, they are actively working against you.   Even worse?  They are so good at messaging and manipulating that they get people to vote against their own self interest.

If the right really wanted to do something for the working class… how about getting rid of the onerous effective 45% tax on overtime?  What good is making time and a half when the government takes half?

Let’s say you make $10 an hour.  You have a chance to pick up another 8 hour shift.  Great!  You will be making $15 an hour!  Not so much.  After taxes, you are only making $8.25 an hour.  It’s explained better here, but the net result is why bother working OT?  Why kill yourself and what little free time you have to make LESS than your regular hourly rate.  THAT is someone could make a real difference in American productively and American quality of life.  Make working overtime actually worth it.

Know what else ‘they’ do?  They tax unemployment.   Every job you have ever legally worked at, you pay into unemployment.  Your employer matches it.  Both of you have no choice, and that is a good thing.  The idea is this is a safety net in case you lose your job through no fault of your own.  I have been laid off a couple of times, and I have received unemployment benefits.  It truly is a blessing and a lifeline.  I sure was pissed, though, when I found it being taxed.  Why are you taking a chunk of my money now?  When I need it so bad?  It is only half of what I was getting paid to work, and I paid into this my whole life… with my earnings… and the Fed gets a cut?  That is how you kick a man while he is down.

I can’t tell you the Democrats are going to save you.  All evidence proves they are just as corrupt.  However, if we have any chance it is with them.  Yes, the Dems put lots of rules in place.  Too many.  However, they are the ones who make sure your rivers don’t catch on fire, and that you can breathe good air and have drinking water.  They are the ones that make sure you get vacation, sick time, leave time, days off.  Like unions, most Dems in power have become as corrupt as the powers they are fighting.  However… they/we remain on the right side of history.

*** whew.  that came out of nowhere!  It is also why it took me an extra day to get these out.  Once I started that rant above, I just kept going and going.  Obviously this is stuff I am passionate about.

 What do you carry?

Always?  A leatherman, my keys, and my cell phone.  I don’t even leave to get the mail without a leatherman.  Let me add this – I firmly believe you have never have enough lights and knives.  Know what else is super cool about the Leatherman?  It’s an American company.   Even better?  It is their name!  The company was started in 1983 by Tim Leatherman.  With a name like that, dude was bound for greatness!  or… gay porn.  Still, what a cool story.  Now, you will see zillions of ‘multi-tools’, as the industry calls them.  Like kleenex and band aids and jello before him… we simply call them all ‘leatheman’ now.  Btw, mine is a real Leatherman, comrade.  Thanks, Tim!

Do you know your neighbors?

Know them?  I LOVE them.  I have gotten very close with our neighbors in the last few years.  They are all wonderful and amazing people, and I am thankful.  I live way out of town, down a dirt road.  No stop lights or streetlights or anything.  Not even city water.  So, we are a bit isolated.  This means are neighbors are even more valuable.  Also, having such wonderful neighbors when you live out in the country is wildly practical.  To go drinking in town is just too far, and then certainly unsafe to drive home.   So, instead, we save our money and drink at each others houses.  Here is what I mean by remote; let’s say I am going two houses over… we drive.

Where do you like to go for a day trip?

If I have the time?  Into the mountains.  Luckily, being in Denver, we are just about an hour drive from being deep into the woods of the Rocky Mountains.  It’s pretty great here.

What is at your feet?

dogs.  Weird thing, though… it’s your dogs.  please come get them.  We have enough, already.

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