Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fries with That?

Here's something that a couple of years ago might have sounded really weird. But now, it doesn't sound that way at all. There's competition between people over 70 and people in their late teens to early 20s for the same lousy jobs. The old people are looking for work at the Mickey D's and KCFs of the world, at the Wal-Marts and super markets to stock shelves and bag groceries. The reason? Obvious: with the economy in depression, millions of older people cannot afford to retire any more. Their 401(k)'s have been wrecked, they've been laid off the jobs they used to have, their health care costs continue to skyrocket, and social security simply is not enough to live on. Apparently the older people are winning out in the competition for jobs. Whether this is because they are more reliable and dependable, who knows? But the numbers, according to the NY Times story are stark: "The proportion of older Americans who hold jobs has also risen strongly — 16 percent of Americans 65 and over had jobs last month, up from 11 percent 10 years earlier. But for workers age 16 to 24 the percentage with jobs has fallen to 49 percent, from 59 percent a decade ago. As for Americans age 25 to 29, 74 percent now have jobs, down from 81 percent a decade ago." Don't know about you, but I always feel a great tinge of pity and sadness when I see a person obviously over 70 years old refilling the ketchup down at the Wendy's or wiping down the tables in some plastic fast food joint. You know she wouldn't be there if she didn't have to be. What kind of society let's this happen to millions of its people?
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