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Hullabaloo


Sunday, July 11, 2010

 
Old Parasites

by digby

Dave Johnson has written an interesting post about some of those lazy folks who allegedly refuse to take work at minimum wage as they should:
Here is a fact: There. Are. No. Jobs. I'm in Silicon Valley where the official unemployment rate dipped in May to 11.2%. This dip was, of course, because of so many people just giving up trying to get a job, certainly not because of some wave of hiring. The underemployed figure, known as "U-6," is 21.7% in California, 16.7% nationally.

You have to know someone to get a humiliating job standing on a corner waving a sign. And if you are over 40, things are even worse than that. Don't give me any conservative Rush Limbaugh-Ayn Rand dehumanizing nonsense about parasitic lazy people who won't lookthere are no jobs.

I know so many people here who are over 40, were laid off in the 2000-era dot com crash, still haven't found a regular job and aren't going to. They have had occasional "contract" positions—which means no benefits, no security, a 15% "self-employment" tax and no unemployment check when the job ends. And now, 10 years later they're a lot over 40 and are not going to find a job because so many employers here won't hire people over 40.

And now there are so many more who lost their jobs in the mass layoffs of 2008-2009 and can't find a job. So many of them are also over 40. In fact, many were laid off in obvious purges of over-40 workers, offered a small severance that they could only receive if they promised to take no age-discrimination action against the employer. (I don't say "company" because some of these worked at nonprofits.)

Most of these people will not find another job, but are too young for Medicare and Social Security.

[...]

Age discrimination is a thing with me because it is so blatant here. It's the culture here, some even say that for programmers it is "35 and out." At various times looking for work I've been told I "seemed tired" and things like that. I was even told once that I wouldn't be able to market some software because I "wouldn't be able to get my mind around" how it worked—when I had designed and written part of it in a previous life. One company here is said to have only 200 over-40 employees out of 20,000.

What are people supposed to do?
You can't get Medicare until you are 65, and Social Security until 67. But it's near-impossible to get a job or health insurance if you are over 50.

They are supposed to do all those jobs that are currently being done by undocumented immigrants --- like picking strawberries or working as dishwashers. At least that's the plan according to Republicans who insist that the unemployed are either too lazy to work or too high falutin' to take work they think is beneath them. Rand Paul calls it "tough love."

And when they raise the retirement age, folks who lose their jobs at 65 or 66 can pull a chair up on the median of the highway and sell oranges. See? Not a problem at all.

*Oh and health insurance is available to people over 50 if they're healthy and unemployed --- and rich. Also not a problem. Unless you are an old parasite.

Update: This post is by digby --- I had to use Dennis Hartley's account for technical reasons.

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