This is old news. The Wall Street Journal had an article on this back in June … of 2009. Here’s the link to the story. I remember hearing about employers making current employment an explicit requirement in help-wanted ads back around the same time, although I’m having trouble find links to such stories. (Having been unemployed now for almost three years I can assure you I have been following this stuff closely.)
Well, I can’t find anything explicit for 2009. So either my memory is failing on this matter (possible, but I doubt it) or my dearth of blogging since losing my job has come back to bite me in the ass. ALWAYS blog the stories that interest, just so you can find them again later….
Here’s how you get rid of a whole generation of well-educated, highly compensated, middle-aged middle management – now superannuated in the Neo-Gilded Age. It’s a long-term plan.
First, strip their pensions from them. Offer them 401(K)s instead (“this is so great, you’ll be able to take advantage of the growth in the stock market, as opposed to some pokey 3% or 4%.”)
Second: Persuade them to cash in on their accrued home value, hopefully with ARMs.. (“Take a vacation! Granite countertops! Or just consolidate all your huge credit card bills.)
Third: Break up the companies that employ them and send those jobs overseas. (“It’s the competitive thing to do, because those workers are hungrier and will work longer hours for less.)
Fourth: Foreclose of those homes. (“Oh dear, your ARM ballooned? You’re not working? Time to downsize your life.”)
Fifth: Cut off their extended unemployment benefits. (“If you were serious about working, you’d take *any* job that was offered you, at *any* wage.”)
Sixth: Don’t hire them, *because* they are unemployed. (“If you were employable, you’d already have a job.”)
Seventh: Publicly castigate them at every turn.(These lazy bums, who loaf around on unemployment while the rest of us have to work – why don’t they get off their behinds and work? They deserve no sympathy from us!”)
Eighth: Raise the Social Security age, so that it will take even *more* years before they can collect even a modest pittance from a fund they have paid into all their lives. (“We can’t affird it! We spent all the money giving tax breaks, running two really expensive wars, and saving over-leveraged banks and hedge funds. Social Security is unsustainable!”)
What’s left? What’s Ninth and Tenth? No health coverage – that way the 50- and 60-year olds will die faster. No savings, no housing, no jobs. Will that get this group the message?
You aren’t worth anything to this society any more.
You were told that your power as “Consumers” made you invincible. Hey, “consumer demand” was the great engine of American capitalism for two decades.
But now you have no money. You can’t consume.
Not only that – you expect too much as it is. You were raised in an America that taught you that gave you expectations. Now you’re upset because those expectations became unfulfillable in the new reality.
Best if you all quietly went away. Go move in with your kids and babysit for them – they both have to work two jobs, anyway. (That’s the way your great-grandparents survived old age, after all.) If you won’t die of natural causes, perhaps you might consider unnatural causes.
Of courses, you could always end up sitting on a park bench, drinking vodka til you’re incoherent, and showing all the passerby your “Hero of the Soviet Union” medal for your bravery during the Siege of Stalingrad.
In our dotages, we’ve become our old nemesis, Russia.
I really wonder at the thought processes of an employer who says “if you were any good, you’d already have a job.” It seems like a no-brainer that someone who is out of a job might still be a great candidate for the job you are trying to fill. (After all, anyone who has been paying attention, and has two brain cells to run together, knows that at least some unemployment has been due to companies failing. And much of the rest involves companies having to lay off good people just because business is down so much.) And the fact that someone is unemployed would seem to be an opportunity to sign them up for less than you would have to pay to entice someone who already has a paying job to come work for you.
Which last may seem cold-hearted. But is still a damn sight better than refusing to even consider hiring them at all.
And the fact that someone is unemployed would seem to be an opportunity to sign them up for less than you would have to pay to entice someone who already has a paying job to come work for you.
wj, this is already happening with temp work. In the two years since I was downsized from my financial services industry support staff job, I’ve had two long-term temp assignments. Both have paid about two-thirds of what I was earning before, with no benefits. I’m currently working with a bunch of other people who are in the same position. Three have left the assignment already, but for other temp jobs.
I foresee this happening for some time to come, although who knows what “some” is. I’d just better hope I’m healthy for the next twenty years!
The benefits problem is perhaps the worst part of what is happening. Insurance for a private individual (whether working as a temp, self-employed or unemployed) is expensive at best, and unavailable if you have anything that can be construed as a “pre-existing condition.”
But it turns out there is a work-around. Several friends and I formed an LLC — which actually does do a little bit of real business, although gross income is minimal most years. As a group, we can get a group insurance policy. And we got it with the question of pre-existing conditions not even asked — which was critical for some of us. It still isn’t cheap, and if you don’t put in money every year equal to your part of the premiums, as a partner the difference is reportable as income. But with a high deductible, at least we have an affordable safety net for catastrophic illness or accident.
And there IS some kind of pre-existing conditions waiver, but it has to do with anything you’ve been treated for in the past six months. So far, I haven’t had anything turned down. There’s a big deductible, and the premiums are more than I would have to pay for employer-sponsored health insurance, but much less than I would have to pay for a private insurance policy.
Not ideal, but a workable stopgap. Depends on how long the “gap” turns out to be.