I've listened over and over to the various narratives applied to what happened when so many Americans didn't come back from the lockdown, and inconveniently, also didn't die. The news outlets often call it "The Great Resignation."
When the lockdown started they said folks who could work from home would be fine. Since I'd already been working from home for a couple years, I figured no problem, we're all set. Yeah... not so much, because my work depended on other folks being able to go work at people's houses, and those people wouldn't want that anymore.
After various short-term attempts to keep us on the payroll, a whole lot of us got laid off. I lost my job within a week or so of hitting 62, so I started collecting Social Security, and unemployment, and the supplements. Funny thing, all of the senior folk I know of got discharged. At least some of the younger folks (like my neighbor) kept their jobs (at the same company). Musta been an oversight.
So I have particular reasons I'm not working right now, I'm too damn old for anyone to want to hire me. But what about overall, what about so many folks not being willing to risk their lives to come back to work? Lots of stories They tell. And you know who They are.
I've heard the one where we're lazy. To which I reply words roughly like "Thank you, the horse you rode in on and everything you stand for."
I've heard the one where we're not patriotic enough. See above, let's not be repetitive.
Here's what I discovered, determined, whatevah. I sat down with my calculator (yeah, the one on my Windows computer), looked at what my regular State unemployment was and how that would work out as an hourly wage. Came out to about seven and a half bucks, basically what the Minimum Wage has been since about 2009 if I recall correctly.
Then I added the State amount and the Federal supplement together, and calculated what that would be as an hourly wage. And the result was about $15 an hour -- what folks have been saying recently the minimum wage should have been if we hadn't been suckers for more than a decade. Or longer, but that's another discussion.
So for a fair number of months, I was making what should have been the minimum wage, and several dollars more than I'd been making per hour for all those years in my job.
Fella on a financial podcast, one of those from CNBC, made what he thought was a telling point on that subject, "Well, like one percent of workers actually get minimum wage." Might even be true. But if that $15 bucks an hour is what the minimum wage should have been, I spent the last decade working for less than the Minimum Wage.
Well, part of it, and part of it as a Displaced worker after the last big financial disaster. Again, another discussion.
And that's not just affecting the folks who've been getting what the Minimum Wage has been. That's affecting all the people who've been making less than $15 an hour, and probably still are. Including me, if I wasn't forced into a half-assed retirement.
So it ain't laziness or lack of patriotism. It's way too much time to think, and clear evidence that while we were spending X years working hard, "keeping our noses clean," taking what we were given and saying "Thank you sir may I have another..."
...we were getting screwed blued and tattooed, while billionaires became trillionaires. And all the people stuffing money in their bank accounts and selling $100 phones for $1000 knew that very well, and didn't give a crap because They Got Theirs.
We had felt resigned to being treated that way till we died. And then we stopped feeling resigned.
Heard a fella on one of those investing podcasts talk about how ridiculous it is for someone like me to feel I should be able to be retired at such a young age. And how it'd even be healthier for me to still be working till I retire two years before I die, if that.
Must be nice.