Archive for May, 2021

Why Don’t People Want to Take These Jobs?

Why Don't People Want to Take These Jobs?

The worst job I ever had was my first one. When I was 13 years old, my friend Joe convinced me that we should give caddying at a local country club a try. (Joe redeemed himself a few years later when he convinced me to tryout for the school musical where I met my future wife.)

It was a hard job, to be sure. Some of the golf bags probably weighed more than I did. And the pay wasn’t great — $6 for 18 holes plus a tip, which was a buck or two if the guy had a good round and was happy. But those weren’t the main reasons I hated it.

The caddymaster was a condescending jerk. My friend and I didn’t have any connections to the club, so we were immediately relegated to the lowest caste. Often we were among the first to arrive at dawn on Saturday and Sunday mornings where we had to wait in the basement of the old clubhouse — a series of rooms filled with broken furniture, a derelict pool table (with only some of the balls and no cues), and a TV with no cable or antenna. Most everybody else would get called up before us. Sometimes it’d be noon before we got a golfer and wouldn’t get home till late afternoon. Sometimes we’d be sent home without getting on the course at all. And if you didn’t caddy, you didn’t get paid.

There was no bathroom in the basement, so you’d have to sneak to the caddymaster’s office upstairs (nobody wanted to see a filthy caddy indoors) and ask permission. Sometimes he would say no.

I lasted about two months and then convinced my parents that I should quit. They didn’t like the idea of me quitting something so relatively quickly, but they were never thrilled with having to to drive me there, so win-win.

A lesson learned: Not all jobs are worth staying with, and I was fortunate to be able to choose not to ever do that again. I could mow lawns or babysit. Or just avoid spending money altogether — I didn’t need it for what a suburban boy at that age generally needed money for back then: a minibike and weed.

Another thing learned was empathy for anybody who feels stuck in a job they don’t want to do.


Rep. Matt Maddock Demonstrates Hypocrisy

Rep. Matt Maddock Demonstrates Hypocrisy

I hesitated to draw this cartoon because Michigan state Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford) is not widely known. That’s a good thing, and I don’t really want to change that. He’s clearly one of those “rally the base” sort of attention seekers who are better off left alone to shake their tiny fists and scream into the void.

Except, of course, when they appear to be doing something truly dangerous, which is exactly what Maddock did last week in proposing a law that would require fact-checkers to register with the state. The Maddock bill would, as the Washington Post reported:

Require fact-checkers to register with the state and insure themselves with $1 million fidelity bonds. Any fact-checker who did not register with the state could face a $1,000 per day fine. The proposed legislation would also allow anyone to sue a fact-checker over “any wrongful conduct that is a violation of the laws of this state.”

So, who or what is a fact-checker? Nobody really knows. But it could be, very conveniently, anybody (especially journalists) who might challenge, find evidence, and refute what Maddock (or his wife, who is co-chair of the Michigan GOP) say is true. Coincidentally, this happens A LOT.

Beyond being a serious attack on the First Amendment, it is the exact opposite of the “government can’t be trusted” ideology he and his colleagues supposedly live by. And yes, there’s very little chance that this bill will ever become law — Gov. Whitmer would never sign it. Still, it’s…well, this is how the conservative Detroit News editorial board put it

“A group of Michigan Republican lawmakers is floating the idea of registering “fact checkers” with the state. It flies in the face of the First Amendment, and they should ditch this dangerous and dumb idea.”


Thank Goodness There’s Online Gambling!

Thank Goodness There's Online Gambling!

So it turns out that rebooting an economy after the shock and lingering effects of a global pandemic is not easy. In fact, it’s pretty stilted and awkward.

All this has people understandably frustrated. Many have money to spend, but with limited options. Service industries (such as restaurants, resorts, and hotels) cannot attract enough low-wage workers to staff up. And many manufactured items (such as furniture, appliances, and automobiles) are simply not available because of disrupted supply chains.

Thank goodness Michigan approved online gambling back in January — at least there is somebody out there eager and willing to take our money! Apparently, many Michigan officials are just delighted with the way it has taken off. And also, calls to problem gambling helplines have spiked tremendously. I wonder if the increased tax revenue will offset the write-offs necessary for all of the personal bankruptcies?


Feeling Better After the Cleanse

Feeling Better After the Cleanse

I usually try to stay away from sweeping generalizations — all workers good, all politicians bad — that sort of thing. But there has been so much partisan hackery lately (especially in Lansing) that I felt a need to comment, and sweeping generalization seemed to be the best angle to take.

Michigan is sitting on a bunch of money right now, federal funds from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan. Much of how it will be spent is up to our state government in Lansing, which is by design and mostly a good thing. But unfortunately a significant portion has been held up by the legislature playing a game of chicken with Governor Whitmer, using it as leverage to extract political gain. 

The problem is, the money is actually needed — especially by workers and small business owners. Yes, ours is not a swift process. (Again, by design and mostly a good thing because it’s important to be good stewards of the money.) But slowing the distribution further is at best a needless sideshow and at worst a dereliction of duty.