I managed to catch about five minutes of Rush today, during which time he talked about the fact that some states are floating the idea (or actually going through with the idea) of cutting down the length of time for state unemployment benefits. Rush’s comment (and I’m paraphrasing) was to the effect that “Good, those people can now go get to work.”
I know that he was castigating the type of people who see unemployment as a permanent lifestyle, not a temporary life line. The former will scam whatever system is available and our current system certainly offers a lot of opportunities for scammers.
Regarding those who do want work, though, I thought to myself, “Rush is being unfair.” Thanks to Obama’s and the Democrats’ execrable economic policies, the employment market has shrunk dramatically. Even with the best will in the world, there are no jobs to be had — or, more accurately, in certain regions there are no jobs to be had. That’s when I had a thought that I’ve mentioned here before, but thought I’d mention again: Unlike Americans in days of yore, we are no longer a pioneer culture that will travel for work.
It’s rather ironic, isn’t it? In the old days, travel was onerous beyond imagining. Our American ancestors traveled by ox drawn covered wagons, on horseback, on foot, down rivers, on slow-moving filthy trains, and on sailing ships that took months to circumnavigate South America. Nowadays, we board planes, trains and automobiles. If we’re on a ship, it’s merely for a pleasure cruise.
Yet it was in the old days that the paradigm saw people pack up their life’s belongings and move far, far away in hopes of a better economic situation. In those days, moving away meant that, as likely as not, unless your friends and family came with you, you’d never see them again. You couldn’t take advantage of Southwest’s periodic $69 sales to give mom a hug in person. Once you left, you left for good.
What I wonder is why we have become such an immobile people. If there are no jobs in City A or State B, why are we so reluctant to move to City C or State D? The logistics of moving are always challenging. Packing and unpacking are onerous tasks under the best of circumstances, and travel, though relatively easy, is still expensive. But I think it goes deeper than that. We have, over the past 200 years become more European in that we are more rooted. We might move around a bit to go to college and right after college, but once we settle in our suburban house, there we stay.
America’s current static ethos is helped by welfare. In the old days, it was often a choice between moving or starving. Now, unless you’re moving up to a better job or a better community, why not just stay in your familiar environment and collect welfare checks?
Fundamentally, there are almost certainly jobs to be had somewhere in America. Americans are just unwilling to go looking for them. (Incidentally, as someone who is a nester, meaning that once I find a place I like to nest and not move, I’m not certain what I would do if economic disaster struck. I’d like to think that I’d move on, rather than moldering in the same old place.)