economic development

Waves of Frustration

Many people have already talked about how it is logistically and environmentally impossible to return to life before the uprisings, but the challenge remains: most people only know life as it was and have difficulties imagining how life could be any different. The biggest hurdle that so much of the population will face is economic, which is what drove state governments across the United States into reopening their jurisdictions long before receiving approval from health officials. The public execution which occurred on May 25, 2020 ignited a bonfire that began long before the uprisings began, and the awkward truth is that those is control have demonstrated an impermeable will to learn nothing from them. After all, with more than 40 million people out of work and racial discrimination still prevalent in the employment process, there is little hope that the dismissive attitude of real pain will quell the frustration that people are already expressing.

Despite the constant mockery of millennials, they are the largest demographic of the workforce; because of the perpetual bad luck of multiple wars and depressions, many will never attain the same wealth-earning potential equal to even those who are 2-5 years older, who were able to capitalize on brief bubbles. Before the pandemic was widespread in the United States, wages had stagnated for the middle class and people were struggling to afford basic necessities. The pandemic has become the final nail in the coffin for the possibility of financial equilibrium, with many employers ironically expecting employees not to need them. So already, the stew of discontentment was bubbling over due to millions of people who were told to attend college and eschew “dangerous choices,” only to find disappearing jobs and higher costs of living.

By “disappearing jobs,” most people comprehend that many of the jobs that used to exist will be gone for good as budgets are cut and more employers seek to automate their workforce. Many of the armies of administrative staff will be cut from the public sector as more forms and processes shift online. The pandemic has demonstrated that many of the large employers have little interest in maintaining healthy customer service budgets, replacing them with revamped websites and substituting phone contact for email contact, answered by fewer people. Thus, many of the middle-class jobs for high school graduates have been swallowed up, commanding the younger generations to either go heavily into debt for education or heavily in debt acquiring trade licenses and jobs–with fewer protections due to the abhorrence of unions by the private sector.

While people are looking for work, no one has the money to wait for the employment process to complete. Gone are the days when people could wait for months to attain interviews, purchase wardrobes to project a good impression, and wait for the first paycheck to pay off the debt acquired in waiting for employment. High unemployment means that none of the tax incentives have worked to create jobs, and very few people have accepted that younger people forced to take lower paying jobs have been indefinitely financially blackballed. After all, it is much easier to say that someone is incorrectly looking for a job than to admit that the system works differently for different people. No one has searched for a job while heavily in debt during both a depression and a global pandemic before now. Neverending stress between the pandemic and steady financial obligations can make searching for work unbearable, and many are beginning to buckle under the pressure. Despite the assumption that people can keep prostrating themselves for rejection, every individual needs to hear a strong, life-giving acceptance for motivation to continue.

And where are the “job creators” through this nightmare? Raking in money hand over fist while commanding society to internalize personal failures for grandscale stinginess. No government on any level is demanding that the people who received public funds release those funds to the public; instead, the government made up for the profit losses due to unemployment caused by the wealthy. Because of the pandemic, none of these major employers have deigned to come up with any plan to quickly replace money into the economy. Employers fire and furlough their workers from the comfort of their homes while their employees paid the taxes for the companies to receive public funds. Good luck to anyone hoping to meet someone at a happy hour that would allow them to pay for housing and food.

No one with any sense is confused about whether Black people are being executed for sport during a crisis. Moreover, everyone knows that while people have been demanding justice, those with money, power and time have no interest in budging. However, it is disingenuous to pretend that police brutality was the beginning of the conversation; crime is always the end of a myriad of symptoms. All of the aforementioned injustices were happening parallel to police brutality, and protesters are rightfully concerned with the penchant for conversations that lead nowhere. Justified anger is the slowest to cool, and not one level of government nor the private sector has indicated any willingness to quickly take action.

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday March 11, 2020

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