Stephen Moore sat down with Bob Funk, the president and founder of Express Employment Services, for The Wall Street Journal’s weekend interview. Funk’s company is one of the largest temporary employment agencies in the United States, and although Obamacare is helping his business, he’s squarely against it because of what it’s doing to the economy. It’s clear now that more and more employers are shifting workers to part time schedules and increasingly using temporary help. But Funk touched on other subjects as well, including how many jobs in the US remain unfilled in large part because of the generous welfare state. Too many people today simply think many jobs are beneath them, but for some reason living on the dole isn’t. So they’re content to sit back and collect benefits rather than go out to the daily grind of a job.
Mr. Funk is happy to lay out many of the report’s themes. Perhaps most arresting is his assertion that “anyone who really wants a job in this country can have one.” With 20 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, how can that be?
To land and keep a job isn’t hard, he says, but you have to meet three conditions: “First you need integrity; second, a strong work ethic; and, third, you have to be able to pass a drug test.” If an applicant can meet those minimal qualifications, he says, “I guarantee I can find employers tomorrow who will hire you.”
He thinks the notion of the “dead-end job” is poisonous because it shuts down all sense of possibility and ambition. One of his lifelong themes, Mr. Funk says, is that “a job—any job—is by far the best social program in America and the ladder to success.”
The primary jobs problem today, Mr. Funk says, is that too many workers are functionally unemployable because of attitude, behavior or lack of the most basic work skills. One discouraging statistic is that only about one of six workers who comes to Express seeking employment makes the cut. He recites a company statistic that about one in four applicants can’t even pass a drug test.
“In my 40-some years in this business, the biggest change I’ve witnessed is the erosion of the American work ethic. It just isn’t there today like it used to be,” Mr. Funk says. Asked to define “work ethic,” he replies that it’s fairly simple but vital on-the-job behavior, such as showing up on time, being conscientious and productive in every task, showing a willingness to get your hands dirty and at times working extra hours. These attributes are essential, he says, because if low-level employees show a willingness to work hard, “most employers will gladly train them with the skills to fill higher-paying jobs.”
He fears that too many of the young millennials who come knocking on his door view a paycheck as a kind of entitlement, not something to be earned. He is also concerned that the trendy concept of “life-balancing” is putting work second behind leisure. (Read More)
Funk believes that the government needs to shrink the welfare state, but with the Democrats running things you know that won’t happen any time soon. Look at the way they carried on when the Republicans passed a bill in the House cutting a little bit of funding for food stamps.
Then we have kids racking up student loan debt yet graduating college without any job skills. That’s a prescription for economic disaster.
It’s a vicious circle. We had an economic downturn so in the name of “doing something” the Democrats expanded the welfare state. Rather than being a “hand up” government assistance is becoming a way of life. With fewer people paying into this system, and more taking from it, you know it’s not going to end well. I think that’s what the liberals are hoping for, remember the Cloward-Piven strategy? I doubt they’ve abandoned that. One liberal writer is all ticked off that he isn’t making a good living as a freelancer so he’s openly calling to scrap capitalism altogether. Gee, what do you think he wants to replace it with?
Even when I was growing up as a Democrat, I understood that socialism was impractical and destructive. If Weinstein can say of the market economy, “Take that system and blow it up,” he must have in mind something with which to replace it. Assuming this proposed replacement is some variety of socialism, conservatives must answer plainly that socialism has never worked anywhere, and that this “blow it up” destructiveness typically leads to horrors much worse than anything prevalent in America today. Between 80 million and 100 million people were killed by Marxist-Lenist regimes in the 20th century, and if “democratic socialism” has been less violent, it has also been destructive, resulting in the kind of debt crises that have in recent years struck Greece and other European nations.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, and if the only tool you have is socialism, every problem is described as symptomatic of an exploitative capitalist system. (Read More)
Yeah, well, that Weinstein guy might be on to something, but I certainly don’t mean to flatter him. We’re pretty darned close to “democratic socialism,” if we aren’t there already. The Treasury’s been using tricky accounting for months to avoid hitting the debt ceiling. The Federal Reserve just keeps pumping out more money to keep the Wall Street bubble inflated, but that can’t last forever. President Obama is always talking about “laying a foundation” for a better economy, but that foundation is made up of welfare recipients at the top and the bottom. What the hell kind of economy is that? It’s like building a house over a sink hole.
Oh, and if you aren’t concerned now, watch this short documentary on food stamps in the United States. It’s such a scam – from the woman making $70K a year and getting a $9K boob job to the big box stores making millions in profits thanks to the generosity of the politicians with our money. (Via Joe the Plumber)