Why we have no recovery

“Don’t worry, son. I gots an internship with a major publisher and they said if things work out, I’ll start getting $10 an hour in six months”

I’ve been taking a tip-toe through Craigslist for the past few days, and (as usual) I’ve found some interesting positions. It is amazing how many prospective employers want folks to work for free at tasks that used to be, well, you know, JOBS. Jobs that paid, even if they didn’t pay much. So that was something of an eye-opener. But I also cruised past a few genuine ‘jobs’. One of them struck my eye–the prospective applicant would be re-coding and doing editorial work (and in some cases writing) on blogs maintained for writers and other non-technical types. The Applicant needs to be familiar with html, know editorial styles and spelling/grammar, be able to handle multiple projects at once (all on tight deadlines), understand SEO* and if they meet these conditions,  this position pays a cool $9 an hour, no mention of benefits. Oh, no work from home–you’re going to schlep somewhere. And since they give a suburban address (“in _____ area”), chances are good you’re going to either dump big money on the LIRR or you’re going to need a car.

Now maybe this is just a starter salary. But while this particular offer was egregiously low, it wasn’t unique. And in most parts of Brooklyn, you can’t get a cleaning lady for under $15 an hour.

Somebody will take that job–will have to because UI runs out. But that’s not a big win for the economy because someone working at that rate can’t pay rent or cover the grocery bill. They can’t pay taxes, and they aren’t paying enough into FICA to keep the boomers from using cat food in their tuna salad.

We’re five years into the worst recession since the 1930’s. It has been followed by the weakest recovery in US history. And all the principal players in DC can talk about is deficit reduction.

* search engine optimization.

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