Change Your Own Linens, Fuckers!

Isn’t capitalism wonderful?

Here’s my take on the formula: Poor people in NO = handy labor pool, but lots o’ crime and misbehavior. And of course it’s all their fault (shoulda gotten an education, shouldn’ta had kids so young, yadda yadda).

Hurricane comes, poor folks leave (eventually, once the police quit blocking the bridges). Poor folks decide they’d like a fresh start elsewhere, and start finding jobs all over the country. They’ve got nothing to come back to anyway.

In the meantime, Bush takes a look at NO, says “Wow, imagine, town w/no slums! Let’s rebuild this sucker!”

But lo and behold, now there’s nobody to take those low wage jobs! All those scummy awful people who were the dregs of society - they’re gone! So there’s nobody to wait on the rich people!

Whaddya know!

Turns out “corporate profits” really are the difference between what a worker EARNS and what he or she is PAID. Rich people depend on poor people who are willing to accept less than they’re worth. Not that there won’t always be a bell curve of distribution; but it doesn’t have to mean exploitation (i.e. no health care and lousy housing).

It’ll be interesting to see how the marketplace adjusts to the supply issue in NO. Wouldn’t it be nice if people who worked could expect a decent living as a result?

Personally, I think it’s possible to work a low paying job without becoming a criminal.

Hi Fessie:

I disagree about the poor = criminal part (if that what you meant, I can see you might not actually mean that.)

The missing labor pool will quickly be filled by Honest, hard working Mexican. If there is a low paying, crap job, there is usually an immigrant from Mexico willing to take it. People have to work and poverty is relative.
What is a very crappy job in the USA is still ok for many immigrants. My Grandfather worked plenty of crappy jobs when he first came over from Italy, jobs that people born in America (including myself) would never want to take.
I hope some of my meaning comes across, I am not great at expressing myself.

Sorry, thought my sarcasm was pretty clear.

I feel a lot of sympathy for the working poor of this country, and have myself held a number of low-paying jobs over the years.

My grandfather was an elevator operator, and then a machinist. He was able to support a wife and four kids on his modest income. It angers me that one has to be a professional in order to earn a reasonable living these days.

All these low-paying jobs exist, but if people are unwilling to fill them, then perhaps they won’t be low-paying much longer? Perhaps the rich don’t need to be quite so rich, so that the working poor won’t be quite so poor? Do people really need to be worth a bazillion dollars? Would it kill them to share?

What are you even talking about? Did you just see an article related to employment and decide it was a good opportunity to spout of some completely unrelated bullshit bashing “rich people” and sneaking in a jab at Bush?

Nobody is talking about a criminal labor force except you. Nobody is suggesting that rich people are up in arms about their lack of maid service. Except you. In fact, the article is talking about how businesses are giving as many jobs and bonuses to workers as possible in order to be fully staffed again, and the problem isn’t that they’re not offering enough money, it’s that (in case you didn’t notice) there was a hurricane that destroyed a shitload of housing.

Clever that you got a healthcare mention in too when the article has absolutely nothing to do with benefits or working conditions.

Next time you want to throw out some generic anti-business bullshit, at least find an article that has something worth ranting about.

I’m not sure I’m following your arguement, so I listed what I thought were the important sentences in your post (although I could be wrong).

First, I thought it was generally understood that those who had enough money to get out of NO did so early, and it was the poor folks who got left behind.

So, are the rich people the ones who are in the fast food line? Did they come back to town then?

And, I guess it would be nice if we paid burger flippers the same as, say, engineers, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen anytime soon.


This is going on in Calgary as we speak. I would estimate that there are thousands of entry-level, service-industry type jobs open here right now that are not being filled because there just aren’t enough warm bodies to fill them. Is the average wage for these jobs going up to try to attract people? No. Plain and simple, corporations are stuck in the mindset and corporate business plan of the bust years, and they WILL NOT adjust to changing times, because they learned very clearly in the recession that salaries cost money, and the quickest way to cut costs was to cut people and benefits.

It is somewhat mind-blowing to watch these corporations lurch along blindly in their seriously dis-connected state, creating even worse job conditions and cutting benefits for employees as the pool of employees shrinks daily. They are still trying to tell us, and for some reason most people are still believing them, that it’s an employer’s market here, when it is really an employee’s market, but people just won’t take the power back (probably because they got burned in the bust years, too, and they’re scared of changing jobs).

My fiance just came back from NO after a week of pure hell. He was told by a man he’d worked with before that he could make 20 dollars an hour, room and board paid, with the job lasting up to six months.

This was great! We’re really needing the money with the new baby, trying to buy a house, etc. Everybody needs money, right?

So he gets down there and works five days. I’m back in Memphis rubbing my hands together, excited about the bills I can pay. Yeah this sort of thing excites me. I DO feel sorry for him; his room and board is living at a campground in Covington, sleeping outside on an old mattress with plastic sheeting as walls. The food was apparently awful, but edible. No worries, he’s lived in worse conditions (in Mexico, and yes he’s an immigrant trying to get legal)

Friday rolls around and he’s given a fifty dollar bill and told that everyone will get fifty dollars a day after that. If they don’t like it they can leave. Problem is, most of these guys have nowhere else to go. They left everything. The guy Geekguy came with was one of them, so he was stuck there. There was no store that had a western union office and I was dead broke and freaking out.

Luckily for us I was blessed with a brother who enjoys road trips. Not many people have that.

Just sharing my story.

Rushgeekgirl would it be possible to drop the dime anonymously on that employer? Things like that make me angry, and sad.

Ummm. . . yes.

Love to! Just tell me who to call because I actually have a list.

It would also be nice if we paid public schoolteachers anywhere near as much as blue-collar craftspeople. But I think we’ll see the burger flippers get a raise before that happens. :rolleyes:

Where do you live? In NJ & NYC at least, teachers make a pretty good salary and blue-collar jobs are disappearing. You won’t get rich going into teaching, but it is not like it use to be in the 70’s either.

Many blue-collar craftspeople spend years acquiring their skills. Why shouldn’t that be reflected in their wage?

What do you think teachers do, show up with a clipboard and start ordering kids around?

Watching the news yesterday, it looks like our local government might give Albertans 1 or 2 years of free tuition to a post-secondary institute. That is extremely interesting, because most technical institutions require only a one or two year course, and we are experiencing an incredible blue-collar worker shortage here. We might actually start to see some major upheaval around here in the next ten or so years.

It is only certain fields where college education = more money. Most people I know with a B.A. are not making as much as a skilled trade blue collar worker, and I even know some with Masters Degrees that don’t make more for it. My Diemaker husband with no college degree makes a lot more than my college educated ass. (B.A. in Communications, and yes my job requires a college degree.)

There are still good opportunities out there for people who don’t go to college, but I would admit that having a degree makes it easier to get a decent job in general if you are otherwise unskilled. But I think we all know that length of time spent in school or training does not necessarily correspond to more money.

Well, after the Black Plague in the 13th century, conditions for wage earners did improve because there were so few workers.

However, your OP makes little or no sense. I’m not sure you can make any judgements on an economic system based on a short-term fluctuation due to a disaster.

It’s not like NO deliberately said, “Hey, let’s get rid of the lower classes.” It’s just that, like in most towns, upper and lower class in NO is pretty literal. The well-off people live up on the hill and the lower class people lived in the places that were gonna get flooded out first. So those are the people who are having trouble moving back. I’m not sure that this is particularly an indictment of capitalist society.

But consider the economic implications. Big lack of labor in New Orleans. Lots of work to be done, not only in terms of normal business, but also in cleaning up, rebuilding, and so on. Meanwhile, if lots of folks are in the exodus from New Orleans, there will be a labor glut elsewhere. Only so much jobs and housing ready to go around the country.

So one could reasonably expect that anyone with a trade related to construction would do fairly well in NO for the forseeable future. And there will be lots of opportunities for anyone interested to apprentice as well, or even someone will to just carry and dig. Wages should be pretty good if what you say is true and there is a labor shortage.

Please show us a blue-collar crafts’person’ who gets a starting salary of $42,000, a maximum base of $92,000, works 5 or 6 45 minute periods a day, gets lifetime job protection known as tenure, can take paid sabbaticals and gets the entire summer off plus sickdays and an additional 4 weeks of non-summer vacation days.

The ones with government contracts. Okay, I kid. But not by much.

First, teachers are not paid for “that entire summer off,” and many of them have to get other jobs during the summer to make ends meet. Second, that $42K is an average, yes? You know there are lies, damn lies, and statistics, yes? $42K to start in an area like here is not a liveable salary. Sorry, it just isn’t. Not unless you cut out all non essentials, like food. And electric. Also, I’m willing to bet that teachers in the area I grew up in aren’t making that much to start.

The problem is, public school teachers are paid by the state. And states usually run in the red. They have priorities, and schooling is usually fairly low on that list. We have a bridge we have to build, freeways to repair, an entire state to run. And education is easy to slash, because they just see one great big number and other departments clamoring for cash that need it now, now now. Historically, that is the way it’s gone and probably the way it will continue to go. What sucks is that teachers absolutely deserve to be paid better for what they do, but it isn’t going to happen.