Thursday, June 25, 2009

Andrew vs. Economy Round 78

The one good thing about my lack of employment is the resulting free time I have to spend with my wife. So, we've been using that time going to mass every morning. This has been a necessary peace-giving time, as unemployment is quite stressful.

Yesterday, as we were on our way into mass, my landlord who is also a contractor stopped us to say hi. He asked how married life was and we were chatting for a bit. Well, it came up that I was looking for a job and he said, "you know, I may be able to help you out, why don't you come over after lunch."

Finally, I thought, just the blessing we were hoping for! Well, I went over to his house and sat in his office. As it turns out, we weren't going to stay at the house, no no no, we were going to the unemployment office. When we got there, we met with a screaming government official with a surly demeanor, a crass voice and who "doesn't mess around." She explained that the only way I would be hired on is through a government program funded with federal money from the "stimulus plan." The federal government would be providing the funding for this job. Yes, the federal government would pay part of my salary and provide incentives to my employer. Apparently, the program is set up for people who made under a certain amount of money in the last 6 months and who were also recently laid off (both of which I qualify for). She said that I would have to provide a great number of documents (SS Card, passport, pay stubs, IRS returns, birth certificate, left thumb, etc.) and more importantly I would be required to apply for unemployment.

I explained to the woman that I hadn't applied for unemployment since I was let go. She said with a squinty eyed distorted face, "Well, huh, why not."
"Philosophically, you mean?" I replied.
"Well, yeah."
"Well, you see, its completely contrary to the idea of a free, responsible citizen."

Both the bruiser and the contractor raised their eyebrows and gave a "huh" reply. "Ok, hold on a second."

She rumbled into her office and got on the phone with her boss. The contractor and I sat outside and tried not to listen to the crass voice talking to the government bureaucrat. "Yeah, he says he doesn't believe in unemployment... Yeah ... he's from Oregon or some (poo).... doesn't have a job no... blah blah."

She came back out and said, "well you'll have to apply for unemployment if you want this job." Steeped in irony up to my knees, I said, "oh yeah? huh." She replied, "But, if you're opposed to unemployment, you are probably opposed to the whole program." I told her I'd let her know by the end of the day.

So, the contractor and I walked out and chatted a bit. I told him that I'd rather work for him for minimum wage than take part in the program. I think he really did want to help and that he felt bad about paying me that little. I told him that I'd really just like to learn more about construction and that money wasn't all that important to me. He said he'd see what he can do, but didn't promise anything.

What I find so amazing about this situation is how government is so invasive in every part of life. Why in the world would federal government spending effect the hiring practices of small contractors in small towns in Southwest Illinois? Why do our tax dollars go to various bureaucrats to give out as they see fit in adherence to arbitrary rules? Can someone show me in the Constitution the article where federal government is allowed or encouraged to spend taxpayer money on meddling in the most minute level of personal life?

Maybe I'm being too picky about jobs and I should just sell out and take a government job. But, I can't exactly claim to be anti big government and anti socialist while granting them my allegiance now can I? Seems a bit hypocritical does it not? It's kind of scary now how dependent many people are on government, and I have a feeling that with B.O. this will get much worse.

You've won this round economy, but I'll be back....




Dtrain said...

If you can quickly pass an Actuarial exam or 2, I can get you a job in Iowa.

Anonymous said...

If a man can not stand on his priciples, then what can he stand on?