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Americans have become lazy and it's hurting the economy (article)


DawnM
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"His advice to people is to take more risk in their own lives, whether it's in their careers or personal lives."

 

BTDT, did not work out well. Which is the thing with risk... taking more risks doesn't guarantee things will be better - they can just as easily be worse. Recovering from that takes time, and with elementary age kids, stability really *does* have its pros. That said, I do let my kids play outside alone, so I'm not sure he's talking about us anyway. In fact, he seemed a bit all over the place mentioning all sorts of different kinds of things. 

 

I guess that is an interesting way to narrow it down.

 

I think it's true that people, and it's mostly in the middle class, people who in the past might have been shop-keepers and small business owners, are afraid of a lot of things.  Like their kids will be kidnapped. 

 

So would fearfulness of that general type also impact people's feelings about other risks?

 

I'm inclined to think that both correlate with other factors, or possibly reverse causation - fear related to things like the economy bleeds into aspects like fear for kids.

 

Although - I actually think television and film cause a lot of the fearfulness people have about their communities.  We see crazy people on tv all the time, and our brain interprets that as a risky environment.

 

So - could that impact our attitude to business? 

 

I still feel like its mostly other factors.

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I know someone who started a landscaping business. Tried to get decent employees, but couldn't keep anyone due to their constant court dates, drugs, and just plain didn't want to work.

 

Every single week in the county paper, there are at least two obituaries (out of about 15 total obits) of 20-35yo men, who "worked in the landscaping business". Overdoses. How do you keep a business going when your employees don't show up to the job site because they're dead? Why bother?

This kind of thing comes up a lot in Hillbilly Elegy, too.

It's far from the whole story, but it IS significant.

 

The trouble is, most books and articles cover one side (like genuine structural difficulties) and deny the other (lack of personal strengths) or vice versa.  That's why everyone screams at each other so unproductively.  Each is using their own selected facts, not the overall picture, and both sets of facts are true but incomplete.  

 

One of the things I appreciated so much about Hillbilly Elegy is the way it covered both.  Interestingly, the author went into the military, where he was taught 'adulting' along with everything else.  He is very self-aware about this in retrospect, and described it thoroughly.  (Incidentally I'm glad to have read this part, because I have never before understood why people said that the military 'will make a man out of you' and now I feel like I do.)  Subsequently he came back and went to college and formed a successful life.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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This kind of thing comes up a lot in Hillbilly Elegy, too.

It's far from the whole story, but it IS significant.

 

The trouble is, most books and articles cover one side (genuine structural difficultites) and deny the other (lack of personal strengths).  

 

One of the things I appreciated so much about Hillbilly Elegy is the way it covered both.  Interestingly, the author went into the military, where he was taught 'adulting' along with everything else.  He is very self-aware about this in retrospect, and described it thoroughly.  (Incidentally I'm glad to have read this part, because I have never before understood why people said that the military 'will make a man out of you' and now I feel like I do.)  Subsequently he came back and went to college and formed a successful life.

 

As far as I'm concerned these things are related, and it works in both directions.  It seems to offend people of both political wings, though.

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Yes, immigrants are moving. Because they literally might die otherwise. Is he advocating that if we just had similiar circumstances to what they are running from we would be better off?

 

 

I'm pretty sure that not all immigrants immigrated because they might literally die otherwise. 

 

ETA: and that immigrants who immigrated without their lives being at risk are probably bigger risk takers on average than non-immigrants, just because immigration is a sizable risk to take, compared to just staying home.

Edited by luuknam
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Not that immigration is an actionable item for the average American - most of his article seems to be about taking more risks personally, but I don't think he's suggesting you should just move abroad... because having the more risk-taking Americans move abroad would just leave the more risk-averse here, which, at least in his opinion, would not be good for the American economy. 

 

(and yes, I get that his point there was likely that immigration to the US shouldn't be too restricted, but that has little to do with the rest of the article which was about whether Americans are lazy and risk-averse)

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Well the first paragraph doesn't apply to DH and I.  We have started our own business in the past, we have lived in 6 states in the past 12 years, and we specifically choose to live in diverse neighborhoods.  DH has worked hard at improving his skill set and went from a Preventative Maintenance Tech (very low on the skill scale) to an Engineering Tech (he does the job of and is paid the same as the degreed Engineers) all in the last 14 years.  But yeah, I actually agree we've gotten... not lazy, but complacent and aimless.  My sisters still live a mile or two from my mom.  My brother got an associates and instead of moving here where he'd make a lot more $$ and have the ability to progress he got a job at the same place as my mom works.... there is some opportunity for him but it will be very slow.  DH complains all the time how co-workers don't know how to "think" to solve problems.  How after only a short time they'll throw up their hands and say it's impossible (that's when they call him). 

 

Not everyone values a higher income above family.  It doesn't make you lazy to choose to stay close to your family and make less money.

 

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People aren't starting new businesses and they aren't moving because of the housing bubble.  They can't sell their houses without losing money and they don't have the money to start new businesses.

 

Not to mention that it's pretty hard to start a business when you practically have to sign over your firstborn child in order to get a loan nowadays. Banks are much stingier with credit than they used to be.

 

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I know someone who started a landscaping business. Tried to get decent employees, but couldn't keep anyone due to their constant court dates, drugs, and just plain didn't want to work.

 

Every single week in the county paper, there are at least two obituaries (out of about 15 total obits) of 20-35yo men, who "worked in the landscaping business". Overdoses. How do you keep a business going when your employees don't show up to the job site because they're dead? Why bother?

 

Realistically, you have to pay higher wages. People are always complaining that fast food employees want more than the job is worth. The inverse is true also. If someone can't seem to get a decent employee, they aren't paying what the good employees want for their time.

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Realistically, you have to pay higher wages. People are always complaining that fast food employees want more than the job is worth. The inverse is true also. If someone can't seem to get a decent employee, they aren't paying what the good employees want for their time.

 

Although, landscaping labour I think is very particular.  It's very hard physical work.  People I've known who did it would mostly not go back no matter what the money.

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Although, landscaping labour I think is very particular.  It's very hard physical work.  People I've known who did it would mostly not go back no matter what the money.

 

Every job has its price, though. My dh works a hard, physical job. He's hauling around hundred pound aluminum pieces in 100+ degree heat for eight hours a day, getting constant burns and metal slivers, with people regularly getting serious injuries because it's all saws and presses and such. They pay a decent wage for a job that only requires a high school diploma and offer benefits and quarterly bonuses, so for the most part they have hard-working, decent employees. Another manufacturing company down the road from dh's employer pays just slightly above minimum wage, and they have a massive turnover and tons of employee problems. People are willing to do just about any job if you pay them enough to live on.

 

ETA: Also, as you can probably guess, I wouldn't consider my dh lazy just because he didn't start his own business. ;) The company he works for makes everything from rifle parts for the military to bumper parts for Tesla and everything in between. If everyone who works there left to start their own company, a lot of other people would be screwed.

Edited by Mergath
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Last time we took a risk, tried to start a business, we got completely screwed over and left holding the bag both financially and legally. It's taken us almost ten years to recover.

 

I like a steady paycheck. 

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Although, landscaping labour I think is very particular. It's very hard physical work. People I've known who did it would mostly not go back no matter what the money.

Yes, it's not the money. It's the hard labor -> back pain -> OxyContin -> heroin -> fentanyl -> death pipeline. It's not all low wage workers. There are guys with wives and kids and nice houses losing everything because they can't get clean. It's terrifying and sad.

 

DH has chronic back problems, but works a flexible desk job with a big employer. He can avoid narcotic meds and doesn't have to show up or get fired. He can rest without being visibly "lazy". A landscaper at a 5-10 man operation or a small startup employee won't have that luxury. He needs to be medicated to work, until that stops working and it spirals out of control. You can insert the medical care issue right here too. And Rx tracking and right to work and paid leave laws and how drug abuse is handled. It's all connected.

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Every job has its price, though. My dh works a hard, physical job. He's hauling around hundred pound aluminum pieces in 100+ degree heat for eight hours a day, getting constant burns and metal slivers, with people regularly getting serious injuries because it's all saws and presses and such. They pay a decent wage for a job that only requires a high school diploma and offer benefits and quarterly bonuses, so for the most part they have hard-working, decent employees. Another manufacturing company down the road from dh's employer pays just slightly above minimum wage, and they have a massive turnover and tons of employee problems. People are willing to do just about any job if you pay them enough to live on.

 

ETA: Also, as you can probably guess, I wouldn't consider my dh lazy just because he didn't start his own business. ;) The company he works for makes everything from rifle parts for the military to bumper parts for Tesla and everything in between. If everyone who works there left to start their own company, a lot of other people would be screwed.

 

Yeah, it is more complicated.  In some places though I think there aren't many people available for work, so less desirable jobs end up with difficult employees.  To pay enough to attract people to relocate would make the service or product unaffordable.

 

It is funny that there is this idealization of the small business owner, when the policies of the state work to undermine such people at every step. 

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It also seems a lot harder than it used to be to get a job without currently living in the area. Back when I was growing up, it was pretty common for the dads to get jobs outside the area. Not only that, those jobs typically came with company-paid relocation with a rental place for so many days at the new location and the relo company would guarantee to buy the old house at a decent price if the family wasn't able to sell it for more first.

 

We've been trying to get out of the Bay Area for years and several times my DH has been a finalist for a position elsewhere only to lose out to someone local. The positions he has been offered (that he turned down for various reasons) never once came with a relo package.

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Yeah, it is more complicated.  In some places though I think there aren't many people available for work, so less desirable jobs end up with difficult employees.  To pay enough to attract people to relocate would make the service or product unaffordable.

 

It is funny that there is this idealization of the small business owner, when the policies of the state work to undermine such people at every step. 

 

Yup, I'm sure the specifics vary from region to region and between industries.

 

However, I definitely don't think "Americans are lazy" is one of the problems like that idiotic article is saying.

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It also seems a lot harder than it used to be to get a job without currently living in the area. Back when I was growing up, it was pretty common for the dads to get jobs outside the area. Not only that, those jobs typically came with company-paid relocation with a rental place for so many days at the new location and the relo company would guarantee to buy the old house at a decent price if the family wasn't able to sell it for more first.

 

We've been trying to get out of the Bay Area for years and several times my DH has been a finalist for a position elsewhere only to lose out to someone local. The positions he has been offered (that he turned down for various reasons) never once came with a relo package.

 

 

We got moving expenses paid, but it was up to $5k (needed to hand in receipts of moving company, motels, restaurants, etc), and iirc if my wife were to quit within the first year we'd have had to repay all of it, and over the next 3 years it'd have been prorated (we're just past the 4 year mark now). That was not standard (the company said they never pay moving expenses), but it didn't take much negotiating at all to get that, so I think it might depend on what you're asking for. Obviously not a fancy relo package, but then and again, this was for a job without a college degree.

 

ETA: btw, I'm not arguing about historical trends in relo packages - I wouldn't have the faintest clue. Just saying that even if the company claims they never pay relo expenses, you might be able to negotiate something, especially if it's a relatively small amount of money and very low risk (as opposed to buying the house, which is high risk and lots of hassle).

Edited by luuknam
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As far as I'm concerned these things are related, and it works in both directions. It seems to offend people of both political wings, though.

This. I'm as anti drug addiction as anyone, but the bottom line is that in America, it's cheaper to pop a pill than get treatment for any damn thing. The number one addiction being pharmaceuticals is not happenstance. And it would not surprise me even slightly that the lower payed physically intensive jobs have it the worst. Because you know what a guy who hurts his back can and can't do? He can't afford to get actual treatment such as physical therapy and so forth, which also requires missing work/pay but he can maybe if he squeezes the grocery budget manage to get some pain killers from the doc and work through the pain for a few more years. It happens all the time and it isn't because people are lazy, stupid, morally worthless, or lack will power.

 

Universal healthcare, prescription drug regulation, and a huge reform in how we view work/life culture would do wonders for everyone all around. It won't cure such problems, but it sure would go a long ways to reducing it.

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"His advice to people is to take more risk in their own lives, whether it's in their careers or personal lives."

 

BTDT, did not work out well. Which is the thing with risk... taking more risks doesn't guarantee things will be better - they can just as easily be worse. Recovering from that takes time, and with elementary age kids, stability really *does* have its pros. That said, I do let my kids play outside alone, so I'm not sure he's talking about us anyway. In fact, he seemed a bit all over the place mentioning all sorts of different kinds of things.

It's a dumb thing for him to suggest. It's called risk for a reason. Running out on the tight rope knowing there's no net if you fall is not a morally superior practice in general.

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I know that not ALL immigrants are fleeing for their lives, but historically and currently, most are not leaving their homeland *just* to make more money. Historically and currently, one of the most dangerous undertakings for a family is to immigrate. If they survive the journey, they have to survive living somewhere they usually aren't exactly welcomed with joy and having no supporting network. Many will never again see their loved ones left behind. While we talk up how tough and smart and brave the immigration success stories were/are, the fact is that most were not. Many died/die. Many are not ever financially successful. Many packed up and went back home. For most, it will take at least one generation and often up to three or four for their family to really feel they have moved up the ladder. It's not as bad as the colonists or the pioneers days, but it's still no safe or assured success thing. Very few immigrants immigrate if it is genuinely easier to stay home. And the most successful immigrants were the ones who were at least slightly better off than most from the start. They had something, anything, to give them a leg up. I'm not anti immigration and I know immigrants are a widely varied demographic. But there's some commonality that is often over looked and not really given the consideration it's due when discussing their struggles both historically and currently.

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I know that not ALL immigrants are fleeing for their lives, but historically and currently, most are not leaving their homeland *just* to make more money. 

 

 

Some simply marry foreigners, unrelated to money (BTDT). My point was that there are many reasons why people might move to a foreign country, and the ones who aren't doing it because they're fleeing for their lives are taking relatively big risks instead of playing things safe (whereas the ones fleeing for their lives don't have a "playing it safe" option). 

 

Immigrants aren't a homogenous group.

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I know hundreds of immigrants personally, and most of them came here for opportunities, not because of fear or worse.  All of them continue to have contact with their families and friends "back home" and could return home if that became a better option, but very few actually do return home.

 

But sure, they are more adventurous than average, more adventurous than people like me who stay close to home and only venture out of our comfort zone occasionally.

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Not everyone values a higher income above family.  It doesn't make you lazy to choose to stay close to your family and make less money.

 

 

Also, someone has to take care of people who are aged or infirm.  Back before 2008, we really would have loved to relocate, for several reasons.  We've even considered it seriously more recently.  But when push comes to shove, we have always had responsibilities here that it would be pretty shitty of us to walk away from.  We were also the people who took care of my mom until her death in 2009 and now, we provide a certain level of care for my 74-year-old father with MS and my niece and nephew who have an unfortunate/difficult home situation.  Not only is staying near family not only not "lazy," but it can also indicate that someone is willing to do the work that needs to be done to help their family.  No amount of money replaces the time I had with my mom before she died.  No amount of money would comfort me if I moved far away and my niece and nephew and father were alone in an emergency.  We could, theoretically, take my dad with us.  Custody issues mean we really couldn't take my niece and nephew.   Besides those factors,  we would greatly disrupt the therapy and health care that our two sons with special needs get.  The waiting lists for many ASD-related providers and services can be ridiculously long in many places.   Living here and not in some other places means that we will accumulate less in the way of real estate but again, family > money in our value system.  

People are bound to locations for more than just personal preference.  

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Also, not every business idea is viable.  My FIL left his medical residency because he got bored, tried his hand at law school for a year and then opened a greeting card business and then something else. He had a wife and two young kids at the time, and the only reason this was feasible was that his wife worked FT as an RN.  After a few years of hemorrhaging money and wasting time, he went back to medicine and earned steady money.  I can't say I blame his wife (who put his arse through medical school with her nursing job), for expecting him to not dilly dally with every random business notion that took his fancy.  

 

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Ah insurance. I have been offered more hours at my job (work from home part time job offering full time hours) but if I get any more hours they are required to offer me insurance. If I am eligible for insurance elsewhere, my husbands insurance will drop me. The difference in premiums versus rise in pay due to more hours means I would lose money. So I stay at my part time hours just for the insurance. The author would probably call me lazy. But I don't see the point of working more hours and bringing home less money.

 

There are many factors that play into the decisions people make every day.

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Just move.

Just get a better job.

Just start a business.

 

Yeah. Sure. Because one can "just" do that. Whatever. 🙄

Yes. Also, many fathers of today weigh the ability to spend time with their families as important, which was less true in times past. I don't have any facts to support that, but that is my general observation. A man may now say, "Well, I don't want to open a restaurant because I will work late six nights a week and will never see my kid's baseball games." So that man may "settle" for being a cook at the local diner where he will not have the giant issue of managing the restaurant.

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Yes. Also, many fathers of today weigh the ability to spend time with their families as important, which was less true in times past. I don't have any facts to support that, but that is my general observation. A man may now say, "Well, I don't want to open a restaurant because I will work late six nights a week and will never see my kid's baseball games." So that man may "settle" for being a cook at the local diner where he will not have the giant issue of managing the restaurant.

 

This is my husband.  He told me when we married that he had no intention of making partner and would happy at a lower level in the firm, with lower pay, to be able to attend the kids' ball games, etc.....

 

Well, our kids didn't play ball much, but they were in scouts.  For about 5 years, I did all the scouting.  I finally had to remind him of the conversation above and say, "our kids don't play ball. They are in scouts, so you need to be involved."  He then became a scoutmaster assistant and got involved.

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Another thought that just occurred to me is that in my experience, young families are moving. We know one or more couples (usually with 1-3 kids) who has moved away from our expensive cost of living area each month or two for the last several years plus new people are arriving here all the time.

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Not to mention that it's pretty hard to start a business when you practically have to sign over your firstborn child in order to get a loan nowadays. Banks are much stingier with credit than they used to be.

 

Yes. I think the author is 100% ignorant of the actual costs of starting a business.

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I know that not ALL immigrants are fleeing for their lives, but historically and currently, most are not leaving their homeland *just* to make more money.

 

Immigrants aren't a homogenous group.

Yes. I know. And you'd know I know that if you'd read my post instead of jumping to accusations. ðŸ˜

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Also, not every business idea is viable. My FIL left his medical residency because he got bored, tried his hand at law school for a year and then opened a greeting card business and then something else. He had a wife and two young kids at the time, and the only reason this was feasible was that his wife worked FT as an RN. After a few years of hemorrhaging money and wasting time, he went back to medicine and earned steady money. I can't say I blame his wife (who put his arse through medical school with her nursing job), for expecting him to not dilly dally with every random business notion that took his fancy.

Even if the idea is viable, it's rough. Iirc the average business lasts a whopping 2 years and most take five to make a genuine profit. Most people don't know this. And while that might not sound like a long time, it sure as heck feels like it. And that's if nothing else goes wrong. And life rarely seems to be so accommodating. Or at least mine never seems to be.

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Yes. Also, many fathers of today weigh the ability to spend time with their families as important, which was less true in times past. I don't have any facts to support that, but that is my general observation. A man may now say, "Well, I don't want to open a restaurant because I will work late six nights a week and will never see my kid's baseball games." So that man may "settle" for being a cook at the local diner where he will not have the giant issue of managing the restaurant.

I have been accused of holding my husband back. Oh well. I actually want to see him and be with him. As long as our basic needs are met with a bit more, I wouldn't consider any job worth sacrificing our time together or having him here to share parenting. Well, if it was a job he loved and was passionate about, I might feel differently. Which leads to my other stance no one seems to consider, aside from happening to love him, we forget that more than one father/husband died at work for a reason. The stress and the bad health habits of living in the rat race for decades take a toll on a body physically.

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Even if the idea is viable, it's rough. Iirc the average business lasts a whopping 2 years and most take five to make a genuine profit. Most people don't know this. And while that might not sound like a long time, it sure as heck feels like it. And that's if nothing else goes wrong. And life rarely seems to be so accommodating. Or at least mine never seems to be.

Exactly!!!

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This is funny timing. In a dream I got very angry at my husband when he said he wanted to start a business. I told, "I hope you are happy seeing your kids in ten years when they are all grown" lol He hasn't even mentioned starting a business lately so I don't know where it came from. I suppose our EFCs for college would drop dramatically though. :)

 

 

 

I doubt he means everyone should go start a business. When you talk about a group it is general. Americans generally take less risks than they used to and probably because they are comfortable. This doesn't mean everyone should do so but that there is a smaller percentage doing so.

 

The article was written very poorly. I've heard Tyler Cowan speak and though I disagree with him on a lot of things (probably the majority and maybe most) he isn't as dumb as the article makes him out to be. It wasn't written by him.

 

There are multiple reasons there are less small businesses now. My extended family has a lot of business owners. My grandfather was a business owner and my father and mother own their own business (not married separate businesses) two Aunts and three Uncles and I have no clue how many cousins. Just a couple years ago my cousin bought a couple rigs to get into the trucking business. She had good credit from previous deals and probably a little capital. Some of these were mom and pop size and others employed hundreds but even these large ones meant many many years of poverty before you made it. Often with no paycheck at all. You work 70 hours and pay your employees and get nothing because you only get profits and often when starting out there isn't any. If your business starts to turn a profit you are taxed a larger percentage but if that income had been spread out over the previous decade you might still be in a very low tax bracket.

 

But I am complacent. I don't want to work for nothing. I don't want to miss my kid's childhoods. I'm spoiled in that I have an easy option. A steady paycheck with almost no risk and vacation time. I benefit from other's risk and labor and I'm very grateful.

 

My Father is ready to retire though. OSHA regs (many which make sense and many that don't) get broader every year. Sometimes two different agencies will give you conflicting regulations.

 

Many laws also favor big companies because the government is influenced by big money. For example one agency sends an observer on fishing boats to check for pollution. Now I'm not a fan of pollution and I especially would like the cruise boat industry monitored better but think how many little guys that can really struggle with something like that. The big guys with 15-30 bunks can handle that but if you only have a crew of four and you are expected to take an observer out you are losing 25% of your crew while paying all the expenses of taking out a full crew. That is a big profit loss for a little guy.

 

As Americans state more and more what can and can't be done through government with little to know insight into the specifics of how particular businesses are run we are going to have less flexibility and make it harder for little guys to be innovative. I don't think any of us want to go back to truckers driving 30 hours straight to make an extra buck but it does create barriers to entry when the rules get onerous. Some are good and some aren't but it is a job in itself to sort those out on top of the actual running of a business.

 

Health Care is also a big issue. I also think very few people understand the cost of keeping an employee. It isn't just a wage. It is workman's comp, your half of payroll taxes, someone has to keep track of all the regs and worker restrictions and health insurance is huge although smaller companies can now send them to the health care exchange but also the political climate is such you don't know what the laws will look like next year. It's hard to build a business when you don't know what the rules will be. There are liability issues and often when the employee chooses to do something stupid the business gets fined even if what they did was against business policy. So taking on an employee comes with a lot of risks.

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When my husband and I finished grad school a few decades ago, we both found jobs that not only paid well but had benefits.  I have a small retirement annuity from a teaching position that I only had for two years before moving for my husband's job. In both cases, those first jobs provided health insurance at a minimal cost to us.  I had a loan from grad school to pay off but it was small--and that did not prevent me from putting money into an IRA.  Later, I withdrew the IRA money, paying an IRS penalty, in order to pad our down payment on a house, thus avoiding PMI.

 

Today's grads often seem to start their careers with unpaid or minimally paid internships.  How many get health insurance, let alone a matched retirement benefit?  (In fairness, I will note that my 25 year old son has a 401-K with his employer that provides a match for the percent he deposits. He told me though that none of his colleagues could take advantage of this "free money" because of their student loan debt!)

 

I feel that my generation had clear advantages over younger ones.  Post-secondary education was cheaper for one thing.  Benefits were not unusual.  Some talking heads seem to think that younger people share the same starting point that they had.

 

Further, my son and his friends are also asking about the ultimate price on the quality of life for a material lifestyle.  When our kiddo was fifteen, he announced that he did not want to spend his life in a cubicle like his father, the software engineer.  He figured out a way to be able to work outside. 

 

One 30-something couple we know made a decision that they wanted to live in a certain place.  Jobs were not plentiful there so they had to figure out how to make it happen.  It took them six or seven years to arrive in the location, she with a job at the college in town, he as an established freelancer who can work from anywhere.  I have used this couple as an example to my son:  figure out what you want and then figure out how to make it happen.  This is not the way I was raised.  Rather the emphasis was on going where the job was. I think quality of life is something that needs to be taken into account more often.

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Many laws also favor big companies because the government is influenced by big money. For example one agency sends an observer on fishing boats to check for pollution. Now I'm not a fan of pollution and I especially would like the cruise boat industry monitored better but think how many little guys that can really struggle with something like that. The big guys with 15-30 bunks can handle that but if you only have a crew of four and you are expected to take an observer out you are losing 25% of your crew while paying all the expenses of taking out a full crew. That is a big profit loss for a little guy.

 

Yes. If you're making something and need to send a sample of every single batch for a QC, it makes a big difference if you need to send a sample of every 6 qts vs. every 100 gallons. 

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We also have strange laws about working to get out of poverty.  There are significant disincentives once you have public housing for example.  Bettering yourself can mean worsening your standard of living.  We need to fix that.  But of course that's only part of the reason not everyone is busy busy.

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When my husband and I finished grad school a few decades ago, we both found jobs that not only paid well but had benefits.  I have a small retirement annuity from a teaching position that I only had for two years before moving for my husband's job. In both cases, those first jobs provided health insurance at a minimal cost to us.  I had a loan from grad school to pay off but it was small--and that did not prevent me from putting money into an IRA.  Later, I withdrew the IRA money, paying an IRS penalty, in order to pad our down payment on a house, thus avoiding PMI.

 

Today's grads often seem to start their careers with unpaid or minimally paid internships.  How many get health insurance, let alone a matched retirement benefit?  (In fairness, I will note that my 25 year old son has a 401-K with his employer that provides a match for the percent he deposits. He told me though that none of his colleagues could take advantage of this "free money" because of their student loan debt!)

 

I feel that my generation had clear advantages over younger ones.  Post-secondary education was cheaper for one thing.  Benefits were not unusual.  Some talking heads seem to think that younger people share the same starting point that they had.

 

Further, my son and his friends are also asking about the ultimate price on the quality of life for a material lifestyle.  When our kiddo was fifteen, he announced that he did not want to spend his life in a cubicle like his father, the software engineer.  He figured out a way to be able to work outside. 

 

One 30-something couple we know made a decision that they wanted to live in a certain place.  Jobs were not plentiful there so they had to figure out how to make it happen.  It took them six or seven years to arrive in the location, she with a job at the college in town, he as an established freelancer who can work from anywhere.  I have used this couple as an example to my son:  figure out what you want and then figure out how to make it happen.  This is not the way I was raised.  Rather the emphasis was on going where the job was. I think quality of life is something that needs to be taken into account more often.

 

 

:iagree:  It's like that expression, "He started on third and thought he hit a home run," referring to people with wealthy, connected parents who still think they scratched and clawed their way to the top. Young adults starting out now aren't even in the parking lot, never mind starting out on the actual field. But a lot of baby boomers don't seem to realize that.

 

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It also seems a lot harder than it used to be to get a job without currently living in the area. Back when I was growing up, it was pretty common for the dads to get jobs outside the area. Not only that, those jobs typically came with company-paid relocation with a rental place for so many days at the new location and the relo company would guarantee to buy the old house at a decent price if the family wasn't able to sell it for more first.

 

We've been trying to get out of the Bay Area for years and several times my DH has been a finalist for a position elsewhere only to lose out to someone local. The positions he has been offered (that he turned down for various reasons) never once came with a relo package.

Agreed. Early in his career Dh received relo packages three times to move for jobs or move within a company. Now nothing. While GM will help if they ask you to move, I have heard of other companies that will tell you that you must move in order to keep your job, and will not help with a single expense. Lots of money grubbing and hating on employees out there in corporate world.

 

Local hires are definitely preferred by management even if the company would normally offer a relo package. I think they get kudos for saving the company more money to funnel to top management even if the local candidate is far less qualified than out of town one.

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The housing segregation issue has been known about for many years - redlining, bias by realtors and banks, there are so many other well documented systemic reasons for it that putting it in with 'laziness' seems a bit gross which is probably why it makes an excellent part of a clickbait headline. Complacency to social issues isn't anything new though and the apparent ignoring of those in power and trying to lay it all on general public to fix the economy (ignoring what banks and the governments have done and perpetuating this idea that we can continuously be more "productive" which is a damaging myth and ignores many jobs and needs of society are not "productive"). This reminded me of a piece I read earlier this week on the issues of the value judgement of laziness and its biased overuse.

 

The line about "claiming to work hard" as if it's a lie annoyed me a bit as did the whole bit on parenting. My parents did not send me out with any great purpose, they wanted me and my siblings out of their hair so they could do other stuff. They had different lives and different risks to consider than today. As others said, relocation packages used to be far common [my father took advantage of it 4 times during my childhood]. 

 

As an American who did immigrate out almost 14 years ago when it was far easier, all I can think is if Americans are lazy and complacent, who exactly is meant to be the role model of not laziness when most other powerful countries have far more paid leave and such (ignoring the growing issue of zero-hour contracts and similar that companies - many US in origins - are using to get around aid legislation). The very type of united work for civil rights, justice, better rights in work and housing is ones that tend to band around "lazy" seem to also dismiss. 

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We also have strange laws about working to get out of poverty.  There are significant disincentives once you have public housing for example.  Bettering yourself can mean worsening your standard of living.  We need to fix that.  But of course that's only part of the reason not everyone is busy busy.

Yes, there is definitely a donut hole economically when you're getting off of various kinds of relief.

 

And it's a big one.  My DH has a relative who reportedly owes $5000 on his taxes that he did not expect because he earned baaaarely too much for a subsidy, which was unexpected.  So his slightly higher than expected work hours last year actually sent him backwards.  

 

The right response to that, to me, is to go for MORE hours, or another job that is actually fulltime year round.  That, however, is a little risky, and I don't think he is going to do it.  

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:iagree: It's like that expression, "He started on third and thought he hit a home run," referring to people with wealthy, connected parents who still think they scratched and clawed their way to the top. Young adults starting out now aren't even in the parking lot, never mind starting out on the actual field. But a lot of baby boomers don't seem to realize that.

 

 

I know the generation before me was extraordinarily poor. This is not true for all of the U.S. but my mother's family barely survived lived in a one room shack, ate dying fish from the creek, and the Sears catalog was there t.p. I think in the last generation there were many rags to riches stories but even then a lot of wealth they gained was through land and resources no longer available. They had cheap land for example where I live. They didn't have to pay $100,000 for one acre. They had beach set nets. Was it hard work? Yes. But the licenses and limits are different now. There is more people to share with.

 

So just because you had that opportunity doesn't mean it still exists. I think this is something that many generations struggle to wrap their mind around.

 

You aren't lazy just because you don't see an opportunity know what to do next.

 

I do think they we are in an economic shift but it is hard to say how it will turn out.

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 Yes. I know. And you'd know I know that if you'd read my post instead of jumping to accusations. ðŸ˜

 

 

I read it, and it wasn't intended as an accusation. W/e. I'm not sure I believe that the majority of immigrants (historically or currently) are literally fleeing for their lives, but I don't have statistics on that. In your first post you made it seem like it was all about fear of death, in your second you argued mostly fear of death, but some for money. My point was that there are even more possible reasons than that, and that regardless, the author just isn't wrong that immigrants (as a group) tend to be willing to take more risks than non-immigrants (as a group), and that no, it's not because immigrants fear for their lives. There's not even a value judgement there (from me - there is one from the author, I think). 

 

ETA: I think we're talking past each other?

Edited by luuknam
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I read it, and it wasn't intended as an accusation. W/e. I'm not sure I believe that the majority of immigrants (historically or currently) are literally fleeing for their lives, but I don't have statistics on that. In your first post you made it seem like it was all about fear of death, in your second you argued mostly fear of death, but some for money. My point was that there are even more possible reasons than that, and that regardless, the author just isn't wrong that immigrants (as a group) tend to be willing to take more risks than non-immigrants (as a group), and that no, it's not because immigrants fear for their lives. There's not even a value judgement there (from me - there is one from the author, I think). 

 

ETA: I think we're talking past each other?

 

I'm wondering if one is talking about refugees (or illegal immigrants if not granted refugee status but make it here anyway) who are usually fleeing for their lives or a really poor socio-economic deal vs (legal) immigrants who come here for a huge variety of reasons.

Edited by creekland
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