Everything Is Broken Riding the Catastrophic Change Wave, Part I

Everything Is Broken – Riding the Catastrophic Change Wave, Part I

This is going to one of those posts that’s Multi- Part because it’s actually impossible to even delineate everything that is wrong with our economy and cultural situation in one post, without defaulting to simple answers.

In our situation, simple answers are mostly stupid. At best they explain a percentage of what’s wrong, but very often they don’t even explain that.

In my defense, this started with something that cost me most of the morning yesterday, and pushed publishing the short story to the last minute.

It started in the Huns discord group, with someone saying that people don’t want to work anymore because they are staying home and being paid for it.

This is completely wrong, particularly if viewed as “what’s happened since 2020.” The Covid payments were always limited, and the people they “helped” were a small number. It actually and for real explains nothing.

Yes, there might be a person or two in the three hundred million who is not working and is getting paid for staying home on the sofa. And we wish them and their trust funds good luck.

But it doesn’t explain all the restaurants with signs saying “Help wanted” while at the same time people, including some here, are desperately looking for work and finding none. It doesn’t explain, further up the skilled ladder, the scamalia (totally a word) of bosses who think they purchased slaves, and are paying workers minimal amounts for maximal output, while increasing the workers’ discomfort, it doesn’t explain … well…. much of anything.

So, let me lay out what we’re looking at under “everything is broken.”

  • Our education system is broken. We are increasingly known for schools that don’t work. This is survivable when those schools are primary or even secondary and the rest picks up the slack, but we’re now in a situation where let’s face it our colleges also don’t work
    While it’s still possible to get an excellent education and graduate in a timely manner, no, it’s not millenials being lazy. Schools try to maximize the time it will take for anyone to graduate, and push as much irrelevant stuff into it as possible. Even people with prestigious degrees admit — if you get them in private — that they learned most of what they needed for their job once they went to work, and that they were not in fact taught much of anything.
  • Our distribution is broken. This is the bastard child of “just in time” by “let’s maximize our profits by contracting all production overseas, sometimes to literal slave-states.” All of it coated in “Fossil fuels bad.” Until Flu powder is developed, there is in fact no way to transport production without using fossil fuels.
  • Our production is broken. Look, yeah, sometimes things can be done cheaper/more efficiently overseas, but you pay for it in other ways, including being tied up in cultures that just don’t work and not being able to trust what you get. You also pay for it in a vast number of purposeless population. Only socialists would think it makes any sense, to pay people for existing. In fact, it robs life of interest. Man was born to strive, and woman doubly so.
    Thing is, with tech now, we probably can bring most of that production home and do better. In the nineties I toured a plastic goods factory. This is the sort of thing that in China would employ 100 hard working slave-laborers. In the US it was run by a guy who turned it on, and kept an eye on the machines.
    Now, that was the nineties. I bet it’s more so now.
  • Our commerce and service industry is broken. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the customer is always right. And that’s great, except that you also need to protect your employees from abuse, and strike a happy medium (she won’t be happy after you strike her.) You also need to be sure the schedule and work makes SOME sort of sense, and remembering your employees are humans helps.
  • Our thinking jobs are broken. Most of them seem to be run on the same model as trad pub which implies that their biggest way of retaining employees is to browbeat them and keep them so stressed they don’t look for work.

Now into all this throw the lockdowns, which unleashed a wave of change from change in locations to change in how work is done, the likes of which has not been seen in this great land since the migration Westward. And that our “governing” classes are mentally damaged morons trying to run this according to the always idiotic philosophy of a guy who died at the edge of mass industrialization.

They’re not seeing what’s happening, much less what needs to be done.

And most people are just looking for ‘those darn kids’ type of explanations.

Meanwhile the pieces are starting to reassemble in profoundly interesting ways. And it’s time to look at what’s happening, how and why.

The picture is too chaotic for a single explanation, but if you understand the trends, you’ll be better able to survive and thrive.

Be not afraid. Come deep dive with me.

378 thoughts on “Everything Is Broken Riding the Catastrophic Change Wave, Part I

  1. If everything is broken it just goes to show how teeming with abundance the world is to still be able to give us so much stuff that we still throw stuff away and can carry so many non-working people.

    1. Define “non-working.”

      This is not actually a trick question– there is a HUGE difference between “works for a paycheck” and “works.”

      The work that means you don’t have to buy stuff has a big leg-up on being efficient.

      1. Like cooking instead of ordering takeout, which saves your family a lot of money in the long run.

        Of course, it works the other way around too sometimes — sometimes it’s very efficient to buy something that means you don’t have to work. Such as washing machines so you don’t have to do the laundry by hand. (Which is what I first thought of when I read your comment, before realizing that you had written it the opposite way of how I read it.)

        1. Like when your time is more valuable than the time spent cooking. I spent a year at a place where spending the time to cook for myself every day would have cost me a hundred dollars a day. At least. I chose to eat out and make more money.

          Or when you get older and you pay a mechanic to fix things you can, technically, do yourself- but the time it would take is more valuable to you than the money you spend to have someone else do it.

          A lot of folks are in the opposite position without the skills or know how to do what they need, though. Like those lefty software “engineers” that couldn’t code much more than a simple web page (and a poor one at that). A lot of such young people don’t really know how to cook from scratch. Or fix a nail in a tire. Or swap out a faulty flush valve. Or build a shed. Or fell a tree properly. Or even plan a budget efficiently.

          For some, they were never taught. Sucks to be them. There’s things out there that can’t be learned by watching Utube videos. Some things require lessons at the oldest school in the world.

        1. I was pretty sure you were, but even then– you have to really look at the details, because there is a lot of nonsense.

          I mean, can you really say that someone who has half their paycheck taken for taxes, but gets a third of it back in food subsidies, is being supported?

          1. But someone on the doler in the status wouldn’t be having a paycheck as such but I understand what you’re saying about somebody who works and gets some distribution he offset their taxes it makes a lot of sense

            1. The folks I know who exploit usually do X time on a job, then that triggers that they can get benefits…but my data is a little old.

  2. Simple explanation: It’s fault of the Idiots on the Left. 😡

    Oh, I’m fighting a sh*tty mood right now so I shouldn’t follow the other responses. 😉

  3. I suspect you’ll hit on it in later installments, but so much of the why of the brokenness can be summed up as “treating people as means to an end”. I look forward to your full take, naturally.

  4. As I understand it, the phrase originally was “In matters of taste, the customer is always right.” Meaning if he wants a ham and pineapple pizza, you don’t try to argue with him, you just serve him with a smile.

      1. Aye, in THAT sense, it makes sense. In EVERY other sense, it is proof against time travel. There are no accounts of retail workers renting/buying/begging/borrowing/stealing a ‘time machine’ and CLOBBERING the originator or popularizer of the phrase. Therefore, NO time time travel. If ANYTHING was an indicator….

        1. Tricky thing I’ve found about customers, they can’t tell you what’s really wrong, or often what they actually need, but they are the only ones who can tell you where it hurts.

          1. Exactly Harry. The first stage in software development is to comprehend the users’ needs. Comprehension is more than making a list of the things they say they want. Simply asking the users what they want is a classic trap that has led to the downfall of many products. Savvy users that you interview will sometimes jump to a proposed solution. You need to gently stop them by noting that their proposal is one possibility, but you don’t want to skip ahead. You need to discern what their needs are rather than just record what they tell you. You don’t tell the plumber how to plumb your new house, you just tell him where you want the sink and the shower to be and let him tell you whether it can be done and how much it will cost.

            1. You need to discern what their needs are rather than just record what they tell you.

              100% In software the complement should be “You gave us what we needed.” Not “You gave us what we said we wanted.” Problem is they should know what the problem is. They can’t know what they need to fix it. That is what the software programmer is for.

              1. The other thing I do for software customers is ask, “What do you spend most of your day doing?”, then, “What do you think you should spend most of your day doing?”

                1. Definitely at my job ’90 – ’96. But then their primary job was to be in the field. My job was to make sure their data was easily verified, processed, so they spent as little time in the office as possible. The other side was to make sure that same data was easily retrievable by management. It also helped to involve users in the solution when there are trade offs. The only time I ran fowl of either was when a solution was imposed by new management. A computerized system where it had been done by hand. It involved a lot of overtime on behalf of the person actually doing the work. A lot of overtime. Who knew someone would object when all the overtime went “poof”. Of coarse the solution couldn’t “work right”. But it did once it was suggested, by the manager, that it was time for retirement, the solution was golden and loved by the replacement.

                  My other jobs that wasn’t generally something that was tangible. The software made things easier and faster. Didn’t change what they were doing or why.

              2. I have ONCE in my career had a customer give me completely accurate requirements.

                I have ONCE had someone apologize for giving inaccurate requirements.

            2. Amen to this. I learned this one with my first book cover. I had a fantastic artist who gave me exactly what I asked for, down to the last detail. It was beautiful…and totally wrong to actually promote the book. For the second try, I found an experienced cover designer and told them what the book was about and who I thought the audience was, and I got a cover that wasn’t nearly as pretty or pleasing to my eye, but sold a hell of a lot better.

          2. I’m reminded of a poem describing the challenges of designing and building software, only to have it end with something to the effect of “You gave us what we asked for, but not what we need!”

            1. Lived it, twice with the same customer. Once with the customer wanting a wiz-bang solution that in practice would have required them to be octopuses,and the other with a problem that turned out to be caused by a completely different problem than the one they kept asking us to solve.

              1. I’m a Harley mechanic. Can’t count the number of times customers have told me what’s wrong with their bikes and what the correct solution is based on something they saw on the internet. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they aren’t. Either way I ignore everything they say other than “here are the symptoms I’ve noticed”. The “best” time was when a customer told me there was a noise in his primary chain. In five minutes I said “camshaft failure, probably shouldn’t ride it”. He went on his trip anyway. Made it halfway and rented a truck to bring it home. $6000 and a new engine later…

                1. I report troubleshooting steps to the mechanics. “I did this, then this, then this thing happened, followed by . . .” Used to, the guys listened to me. Now? I get patted on the head and told, “That’s fine, we’ll run a diagnostic on it.”

                  Their computer doesn’t work with a 1996 vehicle. That one now goes to the mechanic who still troubleshoots.

                  1. Fair point but just because a customer tells me he checked something doesn’t mean he actually knows how to checknor what the results actually mean. I’ve been burned on that.

                    1. 100%. Both sides.

                      Why when I am seeking support I always add “What have I missed?” Because it is possible. Not likely, but 100% possible. This generally happens when undergoing the “Rubber Duck” programming only actually talking and describing problem to coworker.

                      When I am in position of providing support my response is “Why do you think it is a problem?” Send me the list of what you did. Sometimes actually got email with list and “never mind” (Rubber Duck again). Until they type it out, they can’t see the step they are missing.

                    2. Absolutely, I’ve been considered a genius by simply making the programmer explain his problem until he figured out what was wrong. I’ve done the same myself.

                  2. I report all the troubles, and trouble shooting done, to computer support (when I call). Preface and end with “What have I missed?” For some reason, always *presumed it is because not-manly voice (checks, yep reason for that, not male), I just get “patted on my head”. Rarely is it because I missed a step. Almost always get forwarded up the support level chains. It is a PIA.

                    (*) True or not. I suspect mostly not true, just the way online support works. Only has to happen twice, verified, and the presumption is there. Note, this is just computer stuff. Car? Give symptoms. Otherwise no opinion. Not even if I suspect computer problem. On car they are lucky they don’t just get “It is broke. Fix it.”

                    When I was doing support of product I also wrote (i.e. no “support” division), always followed up, after the client described the problem, with “why do you think this is a problem?” Sometimes it was a matter of just educating the client. Sometimes it required adding special circumstances for the client. Sometimes it was “yep, broke but only if …” (affects this client, but not majority of clients).

    1. Mumble decades ago, I was disabused of that notion while interning as a summer job. Our sole qualified supplier for Widgets let us down on one order, and it was made Very Clear to me that one did not chew too hard on a supplier that effectively had no competition. (Major metro area, and the direct competition were hundreds of miles away, or bits and pieces could be done at the cost of coordinating the assembly. Don’t ask me how I know. 🙂 ) The vendor made good, I learned a lesson, and took it to heart.

      (If they had repeated the error and/or wouldn’t stand behind their work, would have been worth it to find another. Not the case here.)

      1. In simple vernacular, but I repeat myself, shit happens, at least once in a while.

        If it happens all the time, then it’s time to start a competitive business to supply your own.

      2. BTDT.

        “What we need is….[huge, totally unrealistic and unmanageable list of requirements here].

        What I found was that very frequently, businesses did not understand precisely what their business was, whom they were supposed to be serving, nor how their business “had come to be operated.”

        Which is where the challenge became not making the technology work – while not necessarily simple nor easy, it was very much the easier part of the equation – but getting the business to understand exactly what is was they should be doing. Which, assuming enough willingness to improve, was achievable.

        Where the pain really hit, for us as well as them, was getting the business to change operating processes and procedures to make the best and most efficient use of the technology to accomplish the purpose(s) for which the business existed.

        Change is always difficult, and when imposed from external sources, extremely difficult. 10% will be opposed to any change and will actively campaign against it and try to make it fail; 10% want to Have Things Work Better and will be eager to adopt new processes and procedures; the 80% in the middle are waiting to see who wins the fight between the two 10% groups.

        It’s often been said “positive changes cannot be accomplished through a children’s crusade;” if whomever is supposed to be running things is not directly involved and so fully supportive of accomplishing the necessary changes that they are very willing to become totally and completely committed to the changes and demonstrate that committment by getting their hands dirty making it work and to fire the obstructionist employees over it the changes will fail miserably and expensively. “Burn the boats,” in other words.

        Sarah’s example of “one guy running the plastics factory by monitoring the machines” is a good one, although a bit dated; today, that one guy is running three fully cross-integrated plastics factories, and doing it from the patio of his beachfront condo. (Why three? Because Arizona, MIssouri and North Carolina make it easy to support markets across the country and be able to ship to Europe, maintaining a certain amount of redundant capability, and why the owner is in Sao Paulo this week interviewing lawyers and looking at property there. Which is also why I used to spend a lot of time 6 miles up in biz class….)

  5. Or as one lady in Twitter put it, treating employees like expendable widgets and then wondering why they give you no loyalty.

    1. “At Soulless Megacorp, we treat our workers like they were members our own family!”

      “If this is how you treat members of your own family, then thank God we are not actually related!”

      1. At one place I worked one of the slogans was “Retail is a people’s business and our people are important”.

        The “joke” was that we weren’t people, we were associates. 😈

        1. Wasn’t “rather be a pig in his house than a relative”? Herod couldn’t get pork. 😉

              1. That’s probably the correct version. I don’t have my copy of Josephus easily on hand. (I can tell you what it looks like, and where I last saw it, but don’t ask me where it is at the moment.)

                1. Mine is in the new home office, next to “City of God.” I haven’t gotten through that one, either. (Wry grin).
                  I have, however, read enough to say St Augustine was a seriously sarcastic Saint. Right up,there with Elijah.

              2. People don’t typically kill dogs or sons. They do typically kill pigs.

                Hence the son/pig inversion.

  6. Remember Braveheart? Remember what the English did to William Wallace at the end? Yeah, that’s too slow and painless for whatever asshole coined the phrase “The Customer is Always Right.”

    And that’s all I have to say about that, lest I hijack Our Hostess’ comment section with a pages-long foaming-at-the-mouth angry rant.

    1. Any one of us who’s spent time working in that particular segment of employment hell could.

  7. Our distribution is broken. This is the bastard child of “just in time” by “let’s maximize our profits by contracting all production overseas

    I think most businesses got pushed into the JIT thing from the Thor Power Tools ruling. https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/439/522

    It would seem that quite a bit of our horrible federal law/regulation comes down to taxes. Why we even have taxes anymore is a mystery far beyond me since the federal government isn’t limited to spending what it collects. It just prints more.

    1. Add in the EPA fun. Much easier to have China or Vietnam or India deal with hexavalent chromium than jump thru the hoops. Nvm foreign nations support their industries, the US supports outsourcing.

    2. LIT is part of the whole Japanese business culture phenomenon that got imported back to the U.S.; and without any real analysis of the consequences.

      1. Without any real analysis of why it was smart economics and practical for them – not so much for us.

        Smart economics – scarce and high priced real estate for warehousing. Medium and long term storage was/is only reasonable for imported raw materials, and not all of those. When the source is close (e.g., Australian aluminum), not much is kept “in stock.”

        Practical – all usable land is less than 100 miles from the sea – and industrial areas are much less than that. The nearest port to any factory is pretty much within 50 road or rail miles. Even by land, the longest road distance between the northern “core” city (Tokyo) and the southern one (Nagasaki) is only 800 miles. Compare that to twice that from the Port of Los Angeles to Kansas City. From the port of Shanghai to the Port of Los Angeles, it’s 19 thousand miles.

        Japanese factories could, with almost 100% certainty, have what they need to support production within 24 hours. (This is getting to be less of a guarantee with their own “outsourcing.” But that is still relatively nearby – Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc.

        1. Writing Observer you have a math error or a typo in the Shanghai to LA distance. Google maps is telling me distance is ~10,500 KM on a great circle (aviation) route, That’s about 6500 statute (not nautical, don’t know that conversion) miles. Circumference at the equator is 24,900 miles (again statute), that 19000 you quote is about 75% percent of that so is far too large.

          1. From ports.com – 19,270 nautical miles.

            As the airplane flies, it’s actually 5,600 nautical miles.

            But ocean freighters don’t fly straight lines. WHY they take such a long route, I leave to someone else to answer (any merchant mariners around?), but if there is an error, it’s in my source.

            The voyage time I get from the same source, at the average freighter speed of ~25 knots, is 32 days – which jibes with what the company where I used to work took as standard (we used 35 days as the default time from the Shanghai plant to Los Angeles).

            1. Double-checked. The ports.com software did indeed calculate 19k nautical miles… but look at the route it calculated!

              Two canals and the straits of Gibraltar, instead of just heading east the sensible way. Sometimes programmers forget to double-check their software’s assumptions, like “Nobody wants to cross the International Date Line.”

              1. And indeed that is about 3/4 around the world at the equator. And yes 10,500 KM ~= 5670nm so we’re getting the same answer for that.

                  1. Routing through the Straits of Malacca and the Suez Canal is routing near the modern-day pirates (also all the old-time pirate haunts I can think of except around Scandinavia and the British Isles).

              2. Now, that makes sense for the distance. (Although note that the direct route is still going to be a bit more than great circle – and a lot more than one port in Japan to another.)

                My company’s code did default to 35 days, though. I am wondering whether that is because we also sold product in the Middle East and Europe – so a freight line taking that route would make sense. (I only ever dealt with the code that gave us the time from Shanghai plant to the LA area warehousing. From there, it defaulted 3 days to the Tucson DC, 7 to the Alabama DC.)

                I do wonder whether the website might not be so wonky as it looks, it may just be giving the “most common” route. Everyone does JIT, not just the US.

                1. I seem to recall the code for doing multi-destination route planning was horribly complex, and nobody has a foolproof method. Even the delivery services use different code sets, and you can still see them backtracking over roads they’ve already covered.

            2. If you look at the itinerary, for some reason ports.com has Shanghai->LA going via the Indian Ocean, Suez, Gibraltar, and Panama, instead of across the Pacific. WTF?

              And vice versa, which is even more WTF, like it can’t handle the International Date Line or something. Look at Google Maps instead and use “measure distance”.

              1. Should have read down in my email chain before responding EXACTLY the same way as Robin Munn. 😀

        2. Japan has been reshoring a bunch since the wuflu hit. In particular the unpredictability of Chinese supplies (thanks to random lockdowns of entire cities) has meant that Japanese industry could not rely on it for timely deliveries.

          In my neck of the woods Murata, which makes all sorts of electronic components is opening new factories and expanding existing ones. So are, AIUI, other similar suppliers.

          Now a lot of the more exotic raw materials still come from the PRC because the PRC is the only place willing to trash the local environment to purify them, but you can order that level of stuff on a longer lead time and store it.

          But yes the basic closeness of suppliers is true as is the fact that Japanese roads (and railways) are generally in good shape and don’t fall to bits at a moment’s notice.

    3. It also killed the dead-tree sales of mid-list authors since it was unprofitable for publishers to carry over inventory of older books – especially bad for series since by the time #3 is released bookstores are no longer be able to get #1.
      Note that Thor Power Tools could easily be fixed by Congress since it just applied the law as written. I find it hard to blame Judges for accurately applying bad laws. The problem is that Congress isn’t interested in fixing bad laws.

      1. No, they’re fixated on passing more bad laws.

        I sometimes think they finished with all the good laws before 1900, and have been passing bad laws ever since just so people won’t think Congress is useless. See also, the 16th and 18th Amendments.
        The government can mandate stupidity, but they can’t make it not be stupid.

        1. There’s more of that than people realize. Congress should NOT be passing many laws. Tweak and update legislation, but rarely do something new. Worry about the budget. Exercise proper oversight of the bureaucracy.

      2. The main problem with the Thor decision is that it is part and parcel of the whole “Chevron deference” precedent – bureaucrats don’t have to prove that you are guilty, you have prove your innocence. Thor was rightly slapped down for hinky accounting* to report a tax loss – but the IRS didn’t have to prove that, only point to the “whenever in the opinion of the Commissioner” part of the law.

        “Hinky” in that they were writing down inventory to its scrap value – while still selling it at full retail price. Also, enormously increasing their bad debt reserve without any financial justification.

        1. …but the IRS didn’t have to prove that, only point to the “whenever in the opinion of the Commissioner” part of the law.

          That’s not actually Chevron deference because that phrase was actually in the particular law. Chevron extended similar similar deference to all other regulatory findings as long as the administrator’s decision was “reasonable”. That was uncalled for. Chevron is almost as bad as Wickard v, Filburn…

    4. Oddly enough, a Moron over at Ace’s place mentioned something similar and suggested the answer is paying taxes is a compliance metric and/or means for harassing the politically incorrect.

    5. In Washington state we have a Business & Occupation tax which involves taxing businesses on the value of their inventory at the end of each and every year. Someone better at accounting than me figured out that if you kept something on the shelf for more than three years you lost money on it. The Harley dealer I worked at mumble decades ago therefore decided that each year in December, right after Christmas when business was slow, an inventory list of everything that hadn’t been sold in two years would be created and that we would pull everything on that list out and throw it away. Literally. Put it into the back of a pickup and take it to the dump. I salvaged (with the owner’s permission) a lot of good stuff over the years. Offered to split the ebay take with the shop but he just wanted it gone and didn’t care what happened to it. End result, other than massive waste, good luck trying to find parts for your old Harley.

  8. It starts at the top.

    The people in charge hate us with a burning passion. How very DARE we think we are free!?!? The absolute nerve of us!

    It filters down. By the time it gets to us bottom rungs, we’re lucky it’s only a severe dislike in most cases. But it affects us all.

  9. I had five counterarguments by the end of the “Oh goody, electric garbage trucks and big-rigs!” soundbite last night. Starting with, “kid, you say you had asthma in the polluted air of a different country. So why are you trying to destroy the economy that cured you?” Not to speak of what happens when the batteries of an electric semi catch fire . . . It’s going to make the tire fire that took out an I-40 overpass look like a Zippo™ lighter flame.

    1. Yep. When the electric vehicle has the infrastructure, backlog of testing and retesting, technical expertise, and all around practical utility of diesel, I’ll maybe take a look at it seriously.

      As it is, electric motors have one quite good thing going for them, vehicle wise: Torque. Not so much horsepower. Or reliability. Or length between service intervals. Or range. Or energy density (think “curb weight” here- batteries ain’t lightweight). Not complexity, which goes back to service interval. Not widespread infrastructure support- charging big batteries regularly puts a strain on the grid that it is not, to my knowledge, designed for. Especially not in the numbers needed to support large scale public works. Like trash trucks.

      And big rigs? Please. PLEASE do the big rigs, idiots. All the ones that do will go out of business so fast it will make everyone else that didn’t rich. Big logistics is a cutthroat business. Margins can be razor thin, and often are, but 1% of a billion is a hell of a lot better than 10% of 100k.
      The numbers are NOT THERE for OTR long hauls. They’re not their for short runners. They’re maybe useful for yard dogs. MAYBE. Possibly.

      Even with government subsidies and losing money hand over fist for the first few years, even with government outright supporting them in every way possible, it won’t work. The over the road infrastructure is not there. The tech base is not there. The concepts for the tech base are not even there.

      Electric trucks are toys. Big, expensive toys that don’t do what the real models do every single day.

      1. Diesel-electric trucks, as a down-scaled version of diesel-electric locomotives, might make sense – but that’s not what’s being called for. What’s being called for is a truck-ban, covertly implemented through a “mere regulatory change” that happens to make trucks impossible.

        1. Agreed on the diesel electric trucks. That, I think, could be adapted into something workable. It would take some testing to figure out the mechanics of it and how to make it profitable, but I do think it might be doable especially for long hauls.

          The called for truck ban is virtue signalling. It has to be, because if they even try it now, it WILL fail. And it will fail massively, publicly, and will wreck careers that can’t afford to be wrecked (politicians. I am talking about politicians here).

          But if they can push the envelope enough to gin up some taxpayer dollars to shift to some lefty unicorn factory, which then shifts donations back to the lefty politicians…

          1. “…gin up some taxpayer dollars to shift to some lefty unicorn factory, which then shifts donations back to the lefty politicians…”’

            You’ve just described the entire MO and raison d’etre for every cause the global left pursues.

          2. I don’t think the truck ban is just virtue signaling. Deep down there’s an urge to destroy prosperity and civilization (“gramscian damage”), and one of the reasons for “electric trucks” is self-deception and the deception of useful idiots in the form of “We’re not slitting our own throats; we’re just slitting the throats of those deplorable trucker kulaks who hold unacceptable right-wing views.”

            More generally, I’m coming to the view that the dream of Soviet Socialist Super Economics being superior at providing abundance secretly died in the late 1960s / early 1970s, and that’s why the party line switched at that time to “Learn to live with less, you greedy hate-filled bastards!” The prosperity and well-being that “horse-and-buggy” (semi)free markets turned out to be better at creating had to be trashed as evil and wrong, and the poverty and oppression that Super Soviet Economics was superior at producing had to be praised as good and virtuous.

          3. Diesel electric Hybrids for trucks, maybe, maybe not. I don’t think a diesel electric where the diesel is used to generate electricity to drive electrical motors an “electric” transmission is going to work, It barely pays off in trains which have have much larger diesels than your average tractor trailer its a matter of scale. Certainly tractor trailers use a far smaller engine in a weight to horsepower sense than a private vehicle and make up for that by the additional gearing. The hybrid starts to win over a straight engine when you have lots of start and stop. Mail Trucks, Delivery trucks, Busses might make sense. But Long haul isn’t going to get much advantage out of it. It’s going to get up to speed and go for 3-10 hours. The place where a diesel hybrid with makes sense is SUV/Pickup truck uses especially when combined with a CVT. You can use a far smaller engine to drive the system using the torquey electric motors to help make pickup and start for towing better than with just the small engine, but somehow it’s just never happened. Given US private vehicle production is SUV/Pickup happy I’m kind of surprised. Instead we get the ludicrous F150 Lightning and the electric “Mustang” (Spit pfui!!!!) SUV thing from Ford.

            1. It would really need to be diesel fuel cells rather than diesel electric. I’ve said for a while, the real future of electric cars will be something like that. Batteries as primary storage just isn’t efficient.

              1. The problem is that the efficiency of fuel cells is still not as good as internal combustion engines. We’ve been making those for over 100 years and the things computer control let you do really improve their efficiency. And the Green Nude Eel folks still won’t be happy the output of the fuel cell is probably CO2 and H20. Good news is no NOx or soot, bad news is the Fuel cells catalysts would probably get poisoned by sulfur so you need REALLY clean diesel. But yeah Fuel cells have way better energy density than even the best lithium batteries and far less pyrotechnic tendencies.

    2. There’s also the cold weather performance.

      Current batteries lose a large fraction of their power in the cold – as in about a third. So a truck that can do 100 miles in summer can do 60 miles in winter
      When the truck runs out of charge because it was too cold or the road was blocked by snow for too long then you need to drag a generator along to it and wait half an hour for it to get enough charge to move. Whereas a diesel truck is good to go when someone shows up with a jerrycan of diesel.

      Item 2 is something I’ve seen people commenting on (wrt cars but it also applies to larger vehicles) in Japan because, due to the extreme amounts of snow we get on the Japan Sea side of the country, it is not uncommon for a higway to be jammed for a night in a storm. Clearing up the jams is always an issue because some vehicles will have run out of fuel while waiting, but it’s far far worse if the vehcile has to be charged or towed instead of given a gallon of two of fuel to get moving

      1. Yeah, the cold thing is a huge problem around here where we’re in day 4 of 7 of highs below 0°F. They had an article on one of the news stations recently and you could tell it was all propaganda. They didn’t really address any of the problems of electric vehicles for our area, they just glossed over them. Though I have been seeing quite a few Teslas driving around yet this winter. Usually they disappear near Christmas and don’t come back until just before St Patrick’s Day.

        Between cold weather performance and the fact that the batteries need to be replaced around the time that break-even on cost hits, I’ll pass.

        1. I’ve mentioned this before, but last year when I was in Anchorage to take care of my dad, I asked one of my Uber drivers why all the Uber cars weren’t Priuses like they were everywhere I’d been in the Lower 48. He said with the cold weather affecting the battery performance they just didn’t pencil out.

          1. Heck. RV marine batteries do not last. No way I’d rely on 100% electric based vehicle.

            Sister and BIL have a Toyota Hybrid … Funny thing is they’ve learned it doesn’t save them that much when they travel by car. Of coarse not. Hybrid doesn’t do you any good on highways or freeways when you are rolling along at 80+. Now around town, at home, it saves them a lot of money in fuel.

    3. I just saw an article this week about the Feds pushing electric school buses. It’ll be interesting what the PR people do the first time one ignites while full of kiddos.

      Personally, when I see a bus around town now I’m checking to see if its diesel, liquid propane, or electric. So far none of the city buses I’ve seen have been electric, but I’ll be giving any I see a very, very wide berth.

      1. We had electric buses in Vancouver, BC growing up. Overhead wires with the spring loaded connectors on the buses. I remember they would occasionally fall off in a turn and the bus driver would be out there swinging them around to put them back on the wire. Seemed pretty efficient. I guess they were called “trolley buses” (quick internet search). Not great for outlying destinations for obvious reasons.

        1. They gots ’em in downtown Seattle, and they do seem to work quite well. There’s a very specific use case for those, though; they’re not expanding the electric trolley buses out to Bellevue or UW, for instance. (The Puget Sound progtards do love their light rail, though…empty passenger trains paralleling I-5 for miles and miles.)

        2. Seattle has a lot of those in downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. It’s nice because it cuts down on the noise. No big batteries, though, and they also have engines so they can run when they leave the wired areas.

  10. I realize the point our hostess is making, and I applaud it, but I’m with Reagan on this one. “There are simple solutions, just no easy solutions.” When this is true, “For 16,937 students, Stanford lists 2,288 faculty and 15,750 administrative staff,” the solution is obvious. Odd, that every student at Stanford should have his own personal administrator, yet what should be the student’s personal butler is paid like the lord of the estate, and therefore thinks he’s in charge. As to Congress, if you collect $1,000,000,000,000 in revenue every year, of course most of it will be wasted. How could you possibly watch that much money?

    What are the simple solutions? Turn off the money spigot. That means the business of both business, education, and science will go back to their real purpose rather than maximizing federal subsidies. They’re simply following Willie Sutton’s rule.

    Next move what’s left of the federal bureaucracy to the center of the country where like Washington DC when it was founded, Department of the Interior to Colorado. The FBI, or whatever we might put in its place after burning it down, to Omaha, etc.

    If you scoff, remember what I said in quoting Reagan. No, these solutions will not come easily, but the goals need to be simple to get anything lasting done.

    1. Moving the government won’t solve anything. The bureaucracy and corruption will just follow wherever it goes.

      Take a chainsaw to the federal government and prune off about 95% of it. Start with the IRS and Jimmeh’s Department Of (Mis)Education.

      Speaking of which, who wants to bet the funding for those 85,000 armed tax collectors is baked into the ‘Omnibus Spending Bill’?
      Complex questions never have simple answers. Hell, most simple questions don’t have simple answers.

      1. I believe the theory there is that DC sponges would not follow the jobs out to ‘the sticks’. Uncivilized, you know.

        It may likely have been suggested by Glenn Reynolds – turn off the air conditioning in all government offices.

        Neither is a long-term solution; sponges seem to be adaptable, big sponge in little pond and such.

      2. What Foxfier says below. Moving the government isn’t as important as scattering it. When it’s all in one place, it makes a helluva feeding ground for useless career-climbing bureaucrats that can skip from one agency to the next, then eventually the press if they attain total uselessness, increasing their salary at every move.

      3. Given their rampant criminal misconduct, the FBI needs to be one of the very first federal agencies that is abolished.

      4. Over half (I forget the exact %age) of the government’s spending is “non-discretionary” i.e. it is social security “benefits” and administration of same. That needs to be cut dramatically but it is hard to do

    2. Zero out the FBI budget – the FBI (by Twitter revelations ALONE) has proven itself ANTI-American. Let it die as it deserves to. And NO re-hiring ANY FBI jokers from DC or any State Capitol, nor Big City. That is, for say Wisconsin, NOBODY working out of Madison or Milwaukee. And treat those from Eau Claire, Green Bay, and Wausau or suchlike with Great Suspicion.

      1. And outside of government, any business that hires “ex” FBI must be particularly stupid or desperate.

        Or has blackmail material involved. That would be a fun shareholder lawsuit.

        1. Or the corporate management agrees with the FBI’s conduct and actively facilitates it to advance a common ideological agenda-and then lies under oath about their actions in implementing that agenda.

    3. I suggest we begin reducing the Washington payroll by judicious use of high velocity lead suppositories. Shoot enough of them in the buttocks, and the rest might get the message.

    4. “There are simple solutions, just no easy solutions.”

      “Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult” ― Carl Von Clausewitz

        1. Given the current state of our society and government, “war” is the actual state for the foreseeable future.

    5. As someone who works at a university I can see having more administrative staff than faculty listed (particularly with land-grant institutions), especially with the way they abuse grad students to teach class these days. But a nearly one-to-one ratio of staff to students seems quite excessive.

  11. Alas I think there is a very simple answer: The whole world today is Bat Sh__ Crazy. No, I’m not being facetious. Much, shucky darn, most of what I read, see, hear suggests world wide mass psychosis.

    As to how it got that way, answer to that isn’t so simple.

    As to what we can do to change things: Quite simply, live right, in accord with the seven heavenly virtues, a step in the right direction.

    Will doing so, or anything else, change our world for the better, in the near future? Frankly I don’t think so. It’s quite easy to slide down to hell in a hand basket, however it’s a hard, long arduous climb up and out, even with the best equipment and tons of support.

    OK world, prove me wrong, please, please, please prove me wrong!

    1. Alas I think there is a very simple answer: The whole world today is Bat Sh__ Crazy. No, I’m not being facetious. Much, shucky darn, most of what I read, see, hear suggests world wide mass psychosis.

      Like most simple answers it sounds nice until you realize that it is absolutely useless for understanding or trying to fix anything.

      1. Actually most often simple answers are quite useful and quite helpful fixing most things. Hey, it doesn’t run! The query; is it plugged in or turned on or is the fuel vale open, very often solves the problem.

        However in this case I agree, realizing the world’s crazy solves nothing. If you have, or anyone has an answer that will work in this case, other than hunker down take care of your self and your own, which I’m practicing, I really would like to hear it..

        1. Simple answers to complex problems. And if the subject is “society”, then it is not just any random complex problem, but the complex problem. A simple answer to that may be true, or philosophically relevant, but if it points to no solutions – not even theoretical ones – then it is empty ego stroking.

          “The world is crazy” is one such answer, the same as “the world is sinful” coming from a religious position. The functional purpose of such statements is to signal one’s virtue while undermining anyone attempting to fix the problems. Which is probably why it is such a popular line of assertion from the blackpilled.

          1. ““The world is crazy” is one such answer, …The functional purpose of such statements is to signal one’s virtue while undermining anyone attempting to fix the problems. Which is probably why it is such a popular line of assertion from the blackpilled.”

            Oh well, you’ve made up your mind as well as defining, to your satisfaction, why I expressed my opinion. I wish you well.

            1. “Blackpilled” is the new “raaaaacist”. It’s always amusing to watch self-proclaimed conservatives using communist tactics.

              1. It’s always amusing to watch self-proclaimed conservatives using communist tactics.

                Why do you think I and so many other conservatives these days have started going after blackpill ideology? We’ve finally started to figure out what it is, and why it always tells whatever story will be most useful to the enemy.

              2. Steve, do consider we’re diagnosing something. “Terminally determined to give up, no matter what, because was taught all his life civilization is declining, and therefore refuses to see it’s not going according to the enemy’s plan” is a mouth full. “Blackpilled” works.
                And JiminAlaska is VERY consistent.

                1. Hum.

                  I thought I was adding to the conversations here and that, perhaps, some of my suggestions and opinions might be of at least some value to others.

                  Me,“Terminally determined to give up, no matter what, because was taught all his life civilization is declining, and therefore refuses to see it’s not going according to the enemy’s plan” ? If that means preparing for the worst while hoping for the best, yes, you’re absolutely right, that’s me.

                  Yes, oddly enough civilizations do fall (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46565/ozymandias) one should be prepared to rebuild such or build new ones from the rubble.

                  Actually I think I am, or at least I make a strong effort to be rather consistent. I consistently try to see both sides of the story. I consistently try to consider facts and not fall back on ad hominem (Ignore him, he’s blackpilled!) arguments. I consistently consider the other person’s argument and viewpoint. I consistently try to find ways that I can maintain a comfortable world for me and mine in this 21st century. I consistently support anyone’s defense of the Republic and the Constitution.

                  I get the impression from your comment that makes me persona non grata here Sarah. I thought I was adding to the conversations here and that, as I noted above, perhaps some of my suggestions and opinions might be of at least some small value to others.

                  Oh well….

                  1. You are not persona non-grata and you often do add to the discussions and it’s interesting.
                    However, please note how often you repeat “It’s all the kids, and we’re all doomed.”
                    THAT doesn’t help. We’re all depressed, Jim. We don’t dislike you — actually rather like you — but … do try to turn your head the other way now and then.
                    We’ve ALL been fed doom and gloom our entire lives. What is happening doesn’t fit that. And it’s hard to see through the cramming of gloom.

                    1. Thanks for the clarification Sarah.

                      & now in defense of MY thesis; (grin)

                      Hum. I, as do most, assume I’m being clear and concise when, obviously my statements are murky. No I don’t mean or think it’s all the kids fault, obviously I’ve been unclear on that. My savage teenage granddaughter, for example, just finished replacing the fan motor in her truck that seized up at -40°F. She’s not bad at all at practical ballistics either. The kids, some of them, probably, I hope, enough of them are learning and doing OK.

                      Unclear, un-concise me; I don’t buy doom and gloom and I didn’t think (Guess I do that a lot, don’t think, but I do take small comfort that I’m not alone in such.) I’ve been spreading or pushing doom and gloom. What I’ve been trying to say, push, yell, share is, hey, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. No, I don’t think the Republic can be rebuilt in a day, or a year, but maybe can be rebuilt in ten years though it may take generations. Meanwhile I suggest we and ours find ways to be safe, useful and as comfortable as possible

                      Again, unclear, un-concise me: My contention that we’ve a world of mass psychosis. I thought I was providing a starting point in dealing with our many problems. If we allow that many we deal with, many of the movers and shakers, are by definition clinically insane, we’ll meet and treat with them far differently than we would rational people. You don’t argue with the insane, you isolate them, protect them if possible, but work round them, don’t try to work with them. Buck Fiden.

                      I am not the only one seeing an age of mass psychosis BTW, the two Canucks, Academy Of Ideas, explain, express, the concept far more succinctly; https://youtu.be/fdzW-S8MwbI

                      “And it’s hard to see through the cramming of gloom.” Hum. That may be part of my problem in communicating what I meant instead of leaving folks with what they think I mean. I’m thinking, even if not saying concisely, hope for the best, prepare for the worst and no matter what, enjoy it!

                      Don’t know how much is the nature and nurture that made me, how much is where I am now and the world I live on top of. Said D & G is for me just a momentary distraction. When I take time to take a breath I realize it really don’t affect me none. Far more important I’ve felled bucked, split enough firewood for this winter, that I’ve plowed over two feet of snow off the quarter mile trail out to the road, that I can “…change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet…” (Done did all ‘cept the invasion plan and my sonnet wouldn’t look good even with a bonnet on it.), etc., than the doings wherever a thousand miles away. Bottom line, I don’t do D &G much, I see the world, I see my life, as interesting, fun, exciting and plan to enjoy at the every least, every other minute of it.

                      Dang, if I haven’t been getting that across good thing I gave up my writing career as a latter day beatnik poet in Greenwich Village well over half a century ago and came here to Alaska to build my squirrel ranch instead!

                2. “it’s not going according to the enemy’s plan”

                  Yeah, well, it seems to be working out so far.

                  “Back in October, we learned that a Pennsylvania Democrat may have won his election with illegal votes but got to keep his seat anyways because he was already installed. This is how Democrats are going to secure their power. Run shoddy elections where the vote doesn’t count anymore unless they win.”


                  According to the prophecy:

                  htt ps :// pjmedia.com/columns/athena-thorne/2022/01/17/is-this-how-democrats-will-steal-the-midterm-elections-n1550302

                  ” I reported on an example just yesterday when a judge finally ruled that election officials had illegally overruled the laws already on the books when they created a whole bunch of new ways to vote. In this case, the Wisconsin Elections Commission, using the all-purpose excuse of COVID-19 safety, issued instructions that local election officials could create ballot drop boxes and facilitate ballot harvesting. The arbitrary new rules did not go through the correct process and enabled all sorts of irregularities, but they produced a few hundred votes more than the margin by which Biden was declared the winner in that state. The judge’s ruling that these votes had been cast illegally is a nice vindication, but it comes too late to undo the damage. The Democrats got what they wanted because they went ahead and did it anyway.”

          2. Your logic escapes me, since the first step in solving a problem is defining the problem. “The world is crazy” defines the problem, whether it was incorrectly stated to be the answer. Its (possibly) the root answer to the question “What’s wrong with society today?”; the solution must follow from a recognition of the problem.

            1. I don’t know that it defines the problem very well.

              Since there are lots of types of crazy the most it does it give you a point from which to start asking questions to narrow down the problem.

              Which is both good and necessary, but you can’t just stop at the initial thesis.

              1. I think one we can agree on is “a whole lot of people, possibly a majority, and especially those largely in control of society, culture, and the institutions, believe a great many things totally at variance with objective reality, which we could put on a spectrum from ‘delusional’ on up to ‘psychotic’.”

                1. My (partial) point, and I suspect it was the point intended by jiminalaska. My main point was that I read his comments as being a statement of the basic problem, regardless of whether he called it the “answer”. And as FB says, it’s a starting point for working out a solution, if a solution is even possible. Pray that it is.

      2. Yet it still may be correct. Maybe. I’m not convinced of anything except that there is a lot that has gone wrong with this world we’re living in, but mass psychosis can’t be ruled out.

    2. Given the local weather forecast, I’m inclined to agree with the “crazy.” Right now, it is 60 F, at this time tomorrow, it will be “back up to” 9 F, with wind chills forecast to bottom out at -25F. And no snow. Granted, I grew up with that sort of weather in the Midwest, and even when I moved here, we went below 0 for several nights in a row every year. But we got more snow, and we were used to it. Now?

      Oh, and I think every guy in the region was either getting jewelry or cards, or in line to pay at the card shop this AM. 😛 A LOT of people came into town today to get everything done.

      1. We’re supposed to drop from 51 to 5 tomorrow, with, “periods of light rain.” I am getting theoretically nervous. When the local forecast says, “No, really, everything’s fine,” I get worried.

      2. -41° F. right now here atop the world, but here, not unexpected or surprising.

        I did just check to assure the antifreeze mix in my Jeep is good down to minus sixty, can’t be too careful you know. 🙂

        1. Knowing that North Idaho will never compete with the frozen tundra of Alaska, I stand proudly by -7F. It was sunny, which helped keep your face from freezing entirely.

          1. Shoot once again New England is looking down right tropical. That massive rush of cold air is part of a cyclonic low. For us its pulling warm air up from the Atlantic down by the Carolinas, so for Thursday night into Friday am we’re expecting 60F temperature and torrential (1.5-2 ” total) rain. The only pain is for Christmas Eve the back edge of the cold gets here and things will freeze. Also our ground is frozen so all that rain is just going to run off and make huge puddles which will turn into ice skating rinks…

              1. Actually, I calculated that the Noah’s Flood story would require it to rain a bit more than 6″ a minute.

                The clouds to create that much rain would extend 45,000 miles beyond the atmosphere.

              2. Umm 2″ of rain in probably 8-12 hours. I wasn’t exagerating with torrential. If that were snow we’d be literally hip deep, but cold air doesn’t hold that much moisture. Ponding on the roads will be BAD and that means lots of folks hydroplaning and hitting things like telephone poles. Oh and 50mph+ gusts near the coasts. Leaves are long gone so that’s good, but we’ll probably still get outages hither and yon from downed branches.

              3. We’ve had exactly one bad snowstorm since my family landed in the Carolinas. And our Very Large Dog was absolutely transported with delight.

                He wasn’t terribly bright, and for treats we’d give him an ice cube to chase around and crunch up. So when he stepped out the front door and discovered that the WHOLE WORLD was covered in Treat…well, obviously, he must have been SUCH a good dog to get an entire world full of Treat. He pranced for the rest of the day. 🙂

            1. Oregon, at least Willamette Valley, is suppose to be cold but dry, Thursday, through Friday AM. Then it is suppose to get dicey with moisture moving in and the cold hanging around. We’ll see. Yesterday the dicey icy weather was suppose to hit Thursday. It is possible for the cold weather to get trapped and wet weather to freeze/snow as it drops through the trapped cold weather (1969 snow, and 2017 ice rain, come to mind) but not the way to bet. More likely the wet weather moving in pushes the cold front east.

              1. Urban Seattle got an inch of snow yesterday, today it’s 25°, tomorrow we’re supposed to get another two inches. But then it’s supposed to go up into the 40s and all turn to slush for Christmas.

            2. Stayed home because the wind was unnerving.

              Lots of rain and cloud. One gap of actual sunshine and I calculated angles and went out on the porch. Yup. A rainbow. Tracked it into the clouds and not only did I see more cloud, it filled in. Solid arc of ethereal color from horizon to horizon.

              1. The temp outside says we are thawing out. The road, sidewalks, driveway, and deck, disagree (I can see the ice form as the rain hits it). Temps yesterday were a high of 27 F. Then we had rainy mist come down as ice starting about 1:30 PM throughout the night. This morning temps were up to 30 F, and rising. Not quite as bad as the ice in 2017, but it wasn’t just light ice rain/mist then. It was raining hard and icing as it hit trees, electric lines, roads, cars, sidewalks, driveways, anything not moving …

                1. We got that last night, in that I woke up to a quarter inch of sheet ice on every horizontal surface and some vertical ones.

                  Unfortunately, my flat roof section froze over, built up ice around the electrical mast, and froze the downspout shut, so melted water under the ice had nowhere to go except into my soffit and into my ceiling. Hopefully I caught it before the drywall got too damaged, since I already had to replace that section once.

                  1. Our cars have been frozen shut all last night and today … So, yea. I haven’t gone out to get the mail. (Falling on ice is not on my ToDo list. Just isn’t.)

  12. Marx saw the teething pains of the Industrial Revolution in its infancy and assumed they were Eternal Universal Truths.

    And saw a way to make grift off of them.
    Today, every child in America is born $139,000 in debt.

  13. I suspect it’s death by a thousand cuts. We need analysis on which portions of the workforce are desperate for employees.

    With the sudden layoffs occurring in the software sector, I doubt many of the software giants are currently hurting for employees. They, like the entertainment sector, are (I suspect) cutting organizations to the bone and focusing on their core missions in order to survive. I’m also weeping bitter, bitter tears (BITTER, I tell you!) over media corporations conducting journalist layoffs.

    I’m sure that a lot of blue collar workers have fled from the blue states that taxed and regulated (and wuflu’d) their employers to the point of near bankruptcy. Yet even in my red state there’s a major shortage in the skilled trades of young apprentices.

    I haven’t tracked our immigration data over the last several years, but I’ve hear rumors that Trump’s changes actually started cutting the number of young immigrants that tend to work in construction and the restaurant industries. I don’t know how to verify if that’s true or not.

    I also recently read that there are more adults living with their parents now than at any time since the Great Depression. I’m sure there are a fair amount of young singles who are living with mom and dad while they just get by on part time jobs, because we HAVE been telling American kids that fast food and the trades are beneath them for the past three generations, and that if you don’t get a college degree, you’ll be a failure for your whole life. But apparently (according to GenZ daughter), academically inclined GenZers are outraged over some shenanigans that The College Board (which sponsors the AP testing system) pulled during the WuFlu, and many GenZers are now very suspicious of academia. As she’s in an engineering program and got a lot of college credit in high school, I’d say she’s probably got an accurate bead on this demographic in our area.

    I also wonder if we’re not seeing a shrinkage in the size of the workforce due to a lot of Millennials refusing to have kids and having put off marriage and family for a long time.

    And I also read that law school enrollments are down a couple of percent, while several Ivy League law schools are now boycotting the traditional tier ranking system suddenly.

    Diminished participation in the workforce and in academia coupled with decreased immigration of young people and increased numbers of young adults living at home could explain a lot of the worker shortages at restaurants and in the trades, but I want more data.

    1. With the sudden layoffs occurring in the software sector, I doubt many of the software giants are currently hurting for employees.

      The problem is the same as just after the previous tech crash: a crapton of “developers” who aren’t, and companies are trying to figure out who can actually code and who can’t.

    2. Oh, and this:

      I also wonder if we’re not seeing a shrinkage in the size of the workforce due to a lot of Millennials refusing to have kids and having put off marriage and family for a long time.

      That doesn’t add up. Millennials aren’t The Kids anymore. But their kids aren’t old enough to be a significant segment.

      And you are ignoring that we have had several generations of people refusing to have kids now.

      1. :nods:
        Mom’s mom was one of 13 that made it to adulthood.

        Mom was one of five.

        Mom having three kids was a mini-scandal that resulted in people giggling at her about how she finally got a boy before she filled the house with girls.

        1. My parents were each 3rd of 4, Maternal grandmother was 8 of 9, maternal grandad was 9 of 11. I was an only. In my grade of perhaps 250 kids there was ONE count it one other only. And she lost that distinction when she got a baby sister late in 4th grade. In my girls generation their school had LOTS of onlies. Less so amongst our religious peers, we were the standouts with only 2, 3-5 is far more common. There are SOME 3s in the non religious especially way upper class where Mom is still stay at home, but 2 is pretty standard.

      2. One thing that has bothered me for a while is how many of our top performers/experts had no kids. We’re talking about people heading into retirement with excellent incomes and careers too. Most of them were married, but not all of them either.

        The next few decades are going to be cold ones, I fear.

    3. [quote]I also wonder if we’re not seeing a shrinkage in the size of the workforce due to a lot of Millennials refusing to have kids and having put off marriage and family for a long time.[/quote]

      “Refusal” is overstated. For every Millennial who is childless by choice, there are at least a couple who are childless because they can’t afford the health insurance, childcare or loss of income, housing, and the direct baby expenses. Living with your parents as a singleton is one thing; doing so with a spouse and children is quite another.

      1. Also people who are scared to death of the opposite sex because the generations before them dumped the contents of a sewage treatment plant on the subject.

        1. Or reluctant to get involved because of all the ways a malicious female can twist the law to screw them over. One bad screw can lead to years of bad screwing. 😮

          1. As I said:

            “Also people who are scared to death of the opposite sex because the generations before them dumped the contents of a sewage treatment plant on the subject.”

      2. There’s also the “can’t find the right one” thing that both men and women face. Worse in some ways today, as much of education, the media, and pop culture are insane when it comes to men and women.

        Boys are treated as inferior for being boys and doing boy things, reacting as boys, and playing like boys. Girls have a whole raft of issues rammed down their throats. This does not help support healthy psyches and proper approaches to matchmaking. To say the least.

        Many men are tuning out of the dating market (MGTOW, etc). Women aren’t being told the truth, either, and they are getting lost along the way.

        We’re made to pair up, men and women. Stable relationships stabilize the two. Mutual support creates a partnerships greater than the sum of its parts. Men get to live longer. Women get to live better. Both get to have kids (not an insignificant part of the whole life cycle thing).

        Splitting us up is just part of the whole divisive whole that the left keeps trying to force on everyone.

        1. In some ways, the advent of dating apps and availability of alternatives has created an analysis paralysis of sorts. If there’s plenty of fish in the sea, there frequently is always another fish in the sea. Especially in large urban areas. Not quite so much in smaller towns and places. But you don’t need to commit in order to enjoy the buffet. Not even to a second date.

      3. “childless because they can’t afford the health insurance, childcare or loss of income, housing, and the direct baby expenses.”

        Or because they can’t find a suitable partner.

        Now if this were Instapundit, I’d feel obligated to define “suitable”, since the first responses would be a raft of “husband store” jokes.

        But I’m fairly confident that people around here are better than that.

      4. One of son’s scout mates is doing just that. He, the wife, and two young children, are living with his parents. Does help with daycare. They had a house (parents old home) but managed to lose it despite making payments. (Story does not make sense but then I got it second hand.) Bottom line they ended up at his folks house, temporarily. That was 5+ years ago.

      5. I have been unable to find anyone that is willing to live with me, and I know some of these issues are my own…

        But, some of them are also the issues of trying to date as a Gen-X/Millennial in an urban area. The women want Mr. Perfect and nothing less will do for a long-term partner. Especially if you want to get married and have children.

        1. To be fair to the ladies, they don’t really know any better. Many of them, anyway, if not most. They’ve been fed lies upon lies for their entire lives.

          You need to get a career and make lots of money! Don’t worry about marriage and having kids, you can do that later! Later: where have all the good ones gone? Why can’t I ever keep/stay with a man after all those one night stands? Why can’t I be happy working sixty hour weeks and coming home to my fifty one cats? Where are all the good, strong men that I used to hate? Etc.

          Whereas the ones they castigated and sniped at, the ones that did marry and have families, the ones that found their happiness there, those girls don’t need to worry about dating in their forties.

          And the weird ones, the odd ones… Well, that’s a whole ‘nother set of issues. Ostracized from day one, never fit in, either they went underground and lived like moles never speaking to a soul or they owned the outcast title and dared the world to break them. Social cues? What are those? You won’t find them in bars or hookup culture.

          Human beings of both sexes have it rough in the dating market in the current culture scene. There’s a lot of lies and misinformation, plenty of outside interests that want to bend men and women this way and that for their own ends.

          Finding the right one is worth it, though. At least, so I hear…

            1. Eh, I’m already there I think. There’s honor to be had in being a mentor and a good example to the younger generation yet. I’ve no children of my blood, but there are more than a few young men out there that I’ve taught a bit about this and that in addition to work related lessons.

              I’ve my own goals yet to pursue in life, even as that particular one seems less and less likely. Getting in better shape again is a pain, but it’s a sort of pain I’m used to at least. Got a few ideas that might turn into stories someday, got a house to fix and a truck near as old as me that needs maintaining.

              With the time I’ve got left there is still more yet to be done. And in the doing, might be something of a lesson for younger folks to avoid (or emulate, assuming I’m doing right).

              Still and all, it coulda been worse. There’s a lot yet to be thankful for, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find that right one yet. Hope’s that very last thing what was left in Pandora’s Box once all the world’s monsters escaped. Let’s not be letting that thing go.

              Because the problem exists on both sides of the gender divide. Somewhere out there are women what are beyond fed up with soyboy children in adult bodies and playboy chasing. Find you the one that fits you, and vice versa. That’s only the first step, but it’s a doozy.

    4. Look up the birth rate.

      It’s actually gone up, for the US.

      In spite of not having as many illegals to boost it. About .9% a year.

      1. Anecdata, but I’m seeing more families at the church where I sing that have three or more kids. And more parents out with 3 or more in tow (and in stroller, and charging off to commit toddler shenanigans, and . . .)

        1. Our church, too.

          There’s a big gap- there’s almost no Big Families older than us– but all the folks with kids about our’s age? They have three, and growing.

    5. But apparently (according to GenZ daughter), academically inclined GenZers are outraged over some shenanigans that The College Board (which sponsors the AP testing system) pulled during the WuFlu, and many GenZers are now very suspicious of academia.

      That’s… very interesting. Can you (pump your daughter for information and) elaborate?

      1. Turns out that during the WuFlu, The College Board declared that the AP tests would be suspended… then shortly before the end of the school year, they came out and said you could do it at home, with a $100 charge for a login that only worked once. So a bunch of kids that were told there wouldn’t be a test suddenly had to prep for it at the last minute, only to find that when their computers crashed, they couldn’t re-login, and they failed the test. There was no retest available, a bad mark on their transcripts, and no refunds given.

        Luckily, my kids that had tests that year passed them, so I didn’t have any would-be engineers suddenly go feral/militant rebel on me.

        But GenZ being what it is, there were about a million videos on TikTok and other social media platforms about the horribleness of it all. Then the campaign to publish how much money the CEO of The College Board and other leaders of that group became widespread, as well as their addresses getting released. The rage of a million academic overachievers ran wild, and ever since they’ve been talking amongst themselves about how college costs more than it should, and all administrators are a bunch of parasites enriching themselves at the expense of students…

        It’s like the leaders of a religious cult got caught with their reproductive equipment in the cookie jar. The scales have fallen from their eyes, and they’re turning very cynical.

      2. College Board also changed the format of at least two of the tests, reducing Test A to one question – the killer essay. Another test, after saying that it would NOT contain X, Y, and Z material, ONLY contained X, Y, and Z materials.

    6. You’d be wrong. Profoundly wrong. It’s not kids these days. Kids are living with mom and dad, because college takes forever. (Just getting the classes you need to graduate. And there’s other trickery afoot. Someday. Over a drink.) AND because once graduated, they have a hard time finding a job. And when they find a job… well, they’re making less than we were when we started out, not adjusted for inflation.
      Cut the kids some slack. Some are stinkers. BUT even those trying to do the right thing are being hampered. Because everything is broken. And it’s most certainly NOT their fault.

      1. My daughter bailed from the local junior college system because the requirements for her AA degree kept changing. Changing in a way that would have kept her there for semester, after semester, trying for the classes that she just couldn’t get signed up for in time. Eventually – and although she loved the college experience and enjoyed the challenge of the classes … she began to believe that it was all just a means for the local junior college system to milk her GI bill dollars. For their benefit, and not hers.
        She went into real estate, and loves it.

        1. I came to that conclusion decades ago when I realized I’d never met someone who graduated from a state university in only four years.

          1. I busted my tail [still bent at the tip to this day] to finish grad school in 2+5. I had profs demand to know why I was taking so many hours (9 per semester – three classes). My answer was, “I remember what it was like to have a paycheck. And I’m not getting younger,” while smiling, to make it a joke. They were serious. At the time, the average time from starting to finishing PhD ran 9 years, plus the MA. Now it is even worse, or so I am told.

            1. My Masters took about eight years, but that was because I took one night class a quarter. What got me was the number of remedial math classes…the number got me because the university wouldn’t accept the credits I got in junior college.

              1. You’d think with a forestry degree already I would have had enough math for computers. Nope. They accepted the first term calculus, but after 10 years … I retook it anyway. They did not accept linear algebra (matrix math) which was repeated in 2nd term Discrete Math. Up shot, I had to take as many math classes as I did computer science classes to get a second bachelors. Six quarters, year and half (with summer school) before I even got into a computer science class, at one class a term. Bit irritating. As far as the degree itself goes? It ticked off boxes for employers I applied for. Did I ever write design documents, or even see one, outside of college? He He Ha Ha ROFLOL … Oh wait! They were serious?

                The closest I ever got were twice. Once was screen shots with explanation of change, and why, so the person who was writing formal user documentation wasn’t slammed when the software was completed. Otherwise, just before I retired, and that was to give my fellow employees documentation on a new feature that only I’d been working on, along with why it was done that way, and “here are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for”.

          2. I didn’t quite make it, but I had major surgery and lost a quarter (when you see the doctor for a backache and find yourself in surgery 10 days later).

          3. I got my undergrad in 4 years. Testing out of the freshmen year remedial courses does help.

            But you absolutely cannot take the minimum credit-load.

        2. Son got his degree. But yes. Exactly what he ran into. He graduated in 2012. It has gotten worse since then.

          When I got my 4 year degree I took 13 terms, or 4 years – 1 fall + remaining 2. When I got my second 4 year degree, the school tried to hold me up (as it was I was there 4 years because I started taking one class per term instead of full time, while working full time) by declaring I hadn’t “declared a minor” (that rounded education thing). Pointed out prior degree (which 100% was in the paperwork and transfers) … Rolls eyes. OTOH pretty sure no one there was up to arguing with (by then) a very pregnant not just out of HS student … Just saying.

          I’m surprised they took on a veteran.

        3. I wonder… See, what I was told at university was that the catalog year you entered the school was a contract between you and the university.

          The requirements for your degree were the ones listed in the course catalog the year you entered, and the University was obligated to either have the courses required for the degree or to allow reasonable substitutions for those courses.

          Unless you took, like, 10 years to finish and they’d overhauled the curriculum in the mean-time, or the entire degree program got shut down, they weren’t allowed to change the requirements for your degree when you were in the middle of getting it…

          I suppose that’s harder to enforce, now that they don’t really do print course catalogs anymore.

          1. It would be pretty to think so, wouldn’t it? I think, “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further” is the appropriate sentiment.

          2. Honestly, my daughter didn’t want to bother with it any more. She bailed, which was a pity, as she would have been an amazing practitioner of the field that she initially wanted to go into.
            But after floundering for a couple of years, she found something that she really wanted to apply herself in – which relives me no end.
            One writer-dilettante in the family is enough.

      2. C enrolled in UC Riverside, and we moved there from San Diego, because their art history program included a large number of courses in Asian art, which she wanted to specialize in. Then when we were there it turned out that most quarters none of those courses were offered, despite being listed in the catalog. The one time one of them WAS offered it had limited enrollment and not enough places for everyone who wanted it. I don’t know how prevalent that is, but it seemed like an unpleasant form of academic bait and switch.

        1. That was a not unheard of tactic even 30+ years ago at some schools. “We only offer this required class once every other year and limit it to X number of students.”

          1. It was worse than that at UCR. Their catalog had at least six courses on East Asian art. Over the course of something like four quarters, C only once saw one of them offered, and she couldn’t sign up for it.

        2. Required class, for multiple majors, with restricted enrollment, only offered once a year. Nope. Never seen that. Not once. /sarcasm off. By the time it is the last class you need, you might get first right to enroll. But if the class only allows 40 people, and 45 are “first right” … there are at least 5 people on the waiting list … Scam? 100%

          1. And when that required class is a pre-req for other classes in the major, it just causes even more issues. Not that I have any experience with that at all. Or paying $650 a semester “semester fees” for online classes.

        3. Yep yep yep. VERY prevalent. Why son gave up before getting degrees. tired of pouring money into a black hole. Still wants to finish, but only pay as you go, and part time.

      3. You’re right. I didn’t mean to come off blaming kids these days as the sole factor behind labor shortages. I was just spitballing a few of the factors that might be contributing. As you’ve pointed out, it was far from being a complete answer.

      4. The percentage of students who graduate from 4-year higher education institutions in 4 years has been well below 50% for more than 30 years. If you look at the cohort who entered college in 2010, the % who finished in 4 years was 35% at public institutions, 49% at private nonprofit institutions, and 25.5% at for-profit institutions. And those numbers were a slight improvement over the previous decade.

        The problems have been known for at least 30 years: Too many students encouraged to enroll who aren’t prepared for college-level work. Too many colleges putting more effort into recruitment than completion. Too few class seats allotted to prerequisite or keystone classes. Why haven’t they been fixed? Because there’s no penalty for not fixing them, and the purpose of most colleges is not to educate people–it’s to stay in business by hook or crook. Education is most definitely broken, at all levels.

        1. Nothing to do with college level work. NOTHING. I know on this, trust me. It’s more the colleges play keep away with graduation. The kids can’t go more than six months without classes or they have to pay loans. So they have to keep coming back…..
          It’s a scam.

          1. Think both/and. Enrollment of people who can’t read and write at a basic literacy level is a problem in every major public university system in the country. It’s ALSO a kind of pump-and-dump scheme, where once you have a certain investment in the system they keep adding requirements, while pumping your pockets dry.

            1. Yeah, but it’s not the problem of a lot who can’t complete. That’s the ever changing requirements. (I think weirdlyt he can’t read and write end up in liberal arts. Mostly)

            2. Yep. ‘Bonehead Math’ and ‘Bonehead English’ where the college attempts to teach them in three months what they should have learned in six years of high school, but didn’t.
              People can make stupid mistakes, but only the government can force everybody to make the SAME stupid mistakes.

        2. Small samples but. Out of 8 HS students in ’74 who headed up the road to the same state college, two I’m not sure if they finished or not (the Irish Twins), of the other 6, I was the only one to finish in < 5 years (by years 4 years + two terms, by terms, one more than the 12 “standard”). One was pulled out of school (grades/partying), but later has 3 or 4 doctorates.

          Son’s example “looks” better. Of 4 who all headed for same college, two, including son have degrees within 5 years of HS graduation. “Looks” better because reality is a higher percentage of students who graduate from my HS head to college VS the HS son went to (same city/town, different districts). This has been true since before I graduated, it is still true today.

          1. Honestly, I did it in four years flat – two years at junior college, taking good care that everything I signed up for was transferrable to the State Uni of No Particular Significance. Finished with all the required classes at 3.5 years, so could indulge myself in the last semester with taking classes that interested me just for the credits. But I was an English major, so that possibly helped me make a clean getaway. My next younger brother did the same general program but he kept changing his major of choice, so I think that it took him about seven years to make a clean getaway with a graduate degree.

            1. kept changing his major

              I think state universities forcing incoming freshmen to declare their major immediately is a large part of the problem. Because a year and a half in, you realize you actually hate physics and want to major in chemistry, or history, or psychology, and then you have to spend another three quarters doing the basic courses for that major. And then god forbid you change your mind again.

              Williams College back in the ’80s didn’t require you to declare your major until the end of your sophomore year. Almost everybody had an idea what they wanted, of course, so they did all the intro classes already, but there were enough distribution requirements that only the real heavy lifting majors would be difficult to switch to.

              But then, Williams didn’t allocate department budgets by absolute number of registered students.

              1. That, plus being highly selective, having a low student/faculty ratio, and a ginormous endowment, is why Williams has a 4-year graduation rate of around 85%.

              2. What son ran into. You’d think switching from Chemical Engineering to Chemistry wouldn’t have been that big of a change … Right?

            2. Based on experience, I would have done a lot better to take the general requirements at the local community college, then transfer those to the university. None of the local community forestry AA classes were transferable. Not one. Better off is based on the fact I did go back to a community college after getting the first 4 year degree for the programming classes. My GPA there was 3.98. My first degree GPA is soooo not that good … I did get the degree, but the GPA not stellar. Overall accumulative GPA by the time I was done with the second 4 year degree works out to 3.6 -ish. Was the increase because I was a better student? No, not really. Other than the location, and topics, nothing changed except that I was older and more experienced.

        3. Exactly this. That there are as many admin personnel at Stanford as there are as there are students argues that higher-ed such as it is, is profoundly broken. As I commented on Insty – it seems that the purpose of Stanford is not to educate undergraduates … it’s to employ administrative personnel.

          1. Exactly. If the real purpose of education were to educate students, colleges wouldn’t accept these graduation numbers. And yet they do. 20+ years of working in close proximity to the highest level of administrators taught me that most were only interested in staying employed and moving to a more prestigious position.

    7. “Yet even in my red state there’s a major shortage in the skilled trades of young apprentices.”

      I don’t know how it works with other unions, but I’m told that at least with the carpenters unions, you can walk in the door, sign up, and they will teach you the trade.
      Or you can go in, take a test, and they’ll tell you what level your carpentry’s at.

      I haven’t gone in yet, but I’m seriously considering seeing where I test, with the idea that contractors would take me more seriously as an architect if I were at least a journeyman carpenter.

        1. The Reader knows plumbers and electricians who would hire you and train you as long as you spoke English and showed up. From a physical perspective, manual dexterity is more important than upper body strength in either.

        2. The down side to most of the trades is that they’re generally hard on your knees and back, and often require a lot of upper body strength. But if you don’t actually have back problems, I’d be looking into HVAC. If that doesn’t look good, check out becoming an electrician or a plumber. Any of those three should provide reliable employment for as long as people are making buildings to live and work in.

          1. The problem with HVAC here in the Phoenix area is that most of the residential air handlers are installed in the attic, and working in an attic in Phoenix in the summer is not pleasant.

            1. When the cable installer came to my rental property I told him, “I’ll just stay down here. I’m not getting paid to crawl around in that attic.” 😀

              1. Concur. I’ve been up in the attic precisely three times (looking for the source of a water leak), and those were not in the summer.
                (Found the leak, BTW; the roofing subcontractors had left a bunch of crap – twine, trash, etc) in a valley under the tile, and it built up dirt from the dust storms we get until it overflowed under the felt. Took me a couple of days to clean out all the valleys and patch the tile cracks, but it hasn’t caused any problems for over 10 years. Contractors:

          2. I could do plumber. I like hydraulics and tracing visible leaks (or smellable leaks). Electricity eludes me unless it is blatantly obvious. “I can’t see the battery terminals for the corrosion. I think I found part of your problem.”

            1. House electrical is pretty easy for me. (Vehicle 12v electricity eludes me entirely.) Supply plumbing is straightforward, but while I understand drain-waste-vent plumbing in principle, the codes are super super fiddly.

        3. Hmm… It’s less a matter of “Can go into” than it is “Is the work you are capable of doing worth the money they’d be paying you”. There’s enough of a dearth of tradesmen that I don’t think they’re going to reject anyone who is willing to learn, and can do the work.

          That said, I don’t think I, for example, could ever actually be hired as a construction worker. I can do the work, most of it at any rate, but I evaluate myself as too slow and weak to be worth hiring. (Yes, because middle-aged woman.)

          … Although I suppose a slow weak worker who shows up on time is still better than a fast strong one that doesn’t come to the work site at all. Marginally.

          But it’s good knowledge to have for the actual job that I should be doing, which is “Designing the building and making the construction documents.”

          As far as trades are concerned, electrician might require the least upper body strength, though there is a fair bit of drilling required, and pulling wires around corners.

          Finish trades like tiling and painting would also be a decent option. Lots of exercise for back and arms, of course. I don’t have any idea if there are places that teach them though.

          Fine woodworking and furniture construction are less strenuous than building construction.

          If you can sew, people still do hire seamstresses. There are clothing alteration and repair shops, sometimes attached to drycleaners.

          1. Years ago, a buddy was telling me about a friend of his that got into automotive upholstery. About ten years into his career, he had branched into reupholstering couches and making custom boat covers and that sort of thing, and was making over $20k per month.
            Then he discovered cocaine and lost it all.
            So that could be helpful; not a ton of upper body strength required, and could be lucrative (as long as you don’t have a nose candy problem).

  14. I think the most interesting thing going on right now is the hemorrhaging of “tech” jobs now that the free money has stopped. This has profound implications since the jobs being eliminated are largely lefty “software engineers” who never wrote any code; who were in turn the cadre for the woke,

    It’s not just Musk either, it’s cross the board, Micron Technology is the latest to announce cuts of 10% of the workforce over the course of next year. That’s almost certainly too low.

    Virtue signaling now has visible cost,

  15. What worries me is that we are nearing the sort of impasse that encourages people to find a strongman who will solve the problem and restore order…regardless of the cost. And history teaches that the cost is quite high.

      1. I’ll put it this way…I’d dearly love to have the authority to try. But I’m not interested in centralizing authority. I’m VERY interested in rooting out corruption and incompetence…the Very Most Effective Way.

    1. Historically, the strong man was supposed to be us. We the People. We don’t vote in leaders. They are supposed to be representatives. Big difference. Representatives are supposed to serve us by defending our interests.

      Side note. And unpopular side note, actually.

      Mitch McConnell is not THE problem. He’s a symptom of it. The problem is the culture at the top of the R party is very much antithetical to their base. It needs to die. We need more Trump Republicans. We need less Lindsay Grahams, Mitch McConnells, and so on.

      Less as in none.

      I get how Ace is saying that until the turtle is out, no R votes. I can sympathize. But Mitch is not the problem. He’s a very visible symptom of the problem, and it is much, much bigger than just him. It’s in the State level R leadership too. Yes, your state too. All of them.

      There needs to be more engagement from the people. Because like we saw with the school I can GUARANTEE that folks will NOT LIKE what their representatives are doing whilst away from their constituents.

      1. “It’s in the State level R leadership too. Yes, your state too. All of them.”

        I see no evidence that the Republicans in Oregon have any leadership. Which, of course, is also a problem.

  16. The other factor is Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy. Which is an omnipresent problem in today’s bureaucratized culture.

  17. [insert obligatory pie-in-the-sky ramble]

    Look. Your future is between you and God. Just make the right choices with the light you’ve been given. ‘Nuff said?

    In the meantime, don’t be such a narcissistic weenie to think you’ve got it worse than anyone else. Tons of people have had it worse. Where do you think the “Women and children first” saying came from? And what happened to those left behind?


    We’re all mostly friends here. Yeah, even you, ya lout! You know who you are. We’d all give you what we could to save you. And it may come to that some time. So lighten up.

    But we’ve still a chance, it’s still Christmas, and we just need to “walk the talk” for those who follow. Remember there’s kids out there.

    1. I don’t have to wash clothes by hand in -12 weather. Don’t have to shovel coal to heat one room- really only about eight feet around the one stove. Don’t have to boil water fetched from the spring to drink.

      I don’t get shot at these days. Don’t have to deal with angry people wanting kill me and mine and take what we’ve got from our cooling corpses. I don’t worry so much about having enough food for the spring. Don’t have to walk to work in the weather, whatever it is.

      Still got living family. Haven’t had a serious argument with another soul in years (serious means spilt blood, not miffed emotions). Got all my major limbs and attachments still attached. Pains aren’t too bad most days, never as bad is it could yet be.

      There are books yet to read. Mebbe some yet to write, too.

      Life could be a lot worse.

      Has been, for me at least. Is, for some poor souls out there in the wild and wooly places of the world.

      Some gratitude is order, for those of us with the wit to recognize our blessings. Life, health, fortune, and sacred honor are yet our possessions. For these gifts and many more we are thankful.

      1. Yes, the last few years have been a bit trying at times. But it’s only shown me how blessed I have been thus far in my life. While I joke about “Married with a daughter and a dog. Single father to three little kids.” I really do have a great life and so very much to be thankful for. I pray it lasts.

  18. I have a grave suspicion that human resources departments are the demons in the machine. They create outrageous job postings requesting experience that no one has, and then deep six every application that doesn’t fit. The bosses and managers are desperate for people, but receive no applications.

    One adult child of mine has filled out hundreds of applications that he would be a great fit for, and gets no response. Nil. He’s got a degree in Information Systems and does website support for my sister on the side. But he can’t get an interview. Yes, he’d be a great carpenter or electrician or mechanic, but he has loved computers since he was a little guy.

    Ahem, and maybe because he’s a male human of the pale kind, he’s also not interesting to the HR blue-haired lefties. Sigh.

    1. Look up Jason Blanchard’s “How To Job Hunt Like A Hacker” video.

      Andrew LaCivita also talks a lot about how to network and get the job without first dissolving into slime in the Applicant Trashing System.

      Two wise men.

        1. Actually Matthew chapter 2 vs 1-12 doesn’t specify a number of Magi/wise men. There is a traditional assumption of 3 to match the gifts 🙂 but no actual data for a hard number.

    2. Gad, I hoped things were better. That sort of describes my job hunt before I passed the Civil Service exam when dinosaurs walked the earth. (Though your boy has probably done it a lot more than I did. I didn’t really have a clue in those pre-internet days).

        1. Yep, worse to the point that fast food places are advertising walk-in interviews rather than “apply on our website.”

    3. I’m trying some things that I keep reading about when I’ve been doing my research for applying for a new job (writing jobs are going to suck for the next few years, as journalism jobs finally die for the most part and people think that AI Chat bots can do all of the routine text writing that they need)-

      *Bullet point your job capabilities. Nobody reads resumes in terms of “sit down and spend fifteen minutes before your next interview” unless you’re applying for a six-figure job. Make it as easy to read as possible.
      *Try to quote as much of the job description as possible, verbatim. Rumor has it that a lot of company HR offices deliberately filter on the basis of a lack of keywords and if you can get those keywords and key phrases in your resume…
      *Don’t humble brag, but don’t boast, either. If you’ve done it, say it.
      *Make sure to include all of your certifications that the job might need.
      *Research the company, as much as possible. If you can tweak your resume to include things that would coordinate with things like the company’s vision, it sounds like you are a part of the company already.

    4. Likely a lot of truth to that. I recall an internal position a manager has asked men ton apply for being automatically rejected due to insufficient grade. Asked them about it and they were flabbergasted. Apparently the system has set the minimum grade as the upper most person they had budget for, which explained why they weren’t getting anything. HR was only allowing grey beards to apply to what was an entry level position.

      1. Yes, one job required ten years experience in a computer language that had been around for five years. In the old days, you could show up at the front desk with your resume and a cover letter in hand, but that door closed in 2020.

        1. 10 years ago?

          20 years ago. C# …

          26 years ago. Visual Basic and Java …

          30+ years ago. C++ …

          All for entry level jobs.

          HR has no clue. All the examples above when postings were requiring 5 – 10 years experience, no one could qualify not even anyone who got in on beta releases. Someone in on the development team, maybe.

          Anyone who has any experience in software, the process is the experience. New Language? At least for me, easy. No problem. (Okay, byte or assembly, problem.) Learning curve? Sure. Hard? Hardly. I can’t even remember all the computer languages I’ve worked with.

      2. I’ve been privy to conversations where people were rejected because they didn’t fill out all the boxes (even the ones they need to). I’ve also seen candidates pushed through who didn’t remotely meet the qualifications other than they had a degree.

  19. “It doesn’t explain, further up the skilled ladder, the scamalia (totally a word) of bosses who think they purchased slaves, and are paying workers minimal amounts for maximal output, while increasing the workers’ discomfort” – this particularly hits home, ’cause where I work has an outdoor section that is… freezing.

    Literally, ATM.

    People in my particular job are supposed to be inside, by job description. Instead they’ve resorted to rotating people outside for a couple hours at a time because no one is signing up for that specific job opening. And why would they? It doesn’t pay any better than indoors. And there’s no heat out there. There’s no windbreak. You can’t even move around to stay warm.

    And the last time they put in a space heater, someone apparently ran it to the point it tripped a circuit breaker, and for at least a day we had no heater because the register had to be kept running.

    They keep cutting hours, and yet they don’t have enough people to give anyone a fifteen-minute break from customers. This is insane.

    …And yet it’s one of the higher-paying jobs in the area that you can get if you have a sizable gap in your resume. (As I have, due to family terminal illness… mess.) Though still is not enough to pay the bills.

    1. You speak a truth that I, too, am living through, or something very close. I quit Walmart because after the four hundredth night in a row I was left alone to monitor 20 self-scan stations and people got violent. Which was routine. The only job I could get soon enough after that to pay the bills was for a call center for $15. It’s crazy.

      I, too, have a gap due to my Dad’s pancreas cancer, Mom went south after he died, and then the family (2 brothers and 1 sister) blew up. So, now, I apply for retail jobs that might pay $15. Usually, I hear nothing.
      Yet, when an employment agency randomly got involved, suddenly those requirements on that $19 an hour job that seems really interesting just… vanished? It’s the craziest things I’ve ever experienced after a lifetime traveling around and working across the country (and overseas for the Army).

      Hang in there. This is the most discouraging time, I know. You aren’t alone.

      1. I’m hanging, I’m hanging. Wry G Kitten from a tree branch, but hanging….

        Bah. It’s the time of the year. (Dark, cold, incessant Xmas music at work driving me to want to cause mayhem to the overhead, you know the drill.)

        That and my personal trick nervous system did its every-couple-months poke of, “Oh, BTW, this is what dying’s going to feel like… ahaha, this time you get to live, see ya later!”

        …Yeah. I’m just glad that I caught and lived through Covid and decided the shot was not in my best interest. It probably WOULD kill me.

        1. Oh man. If I didn’t love winter and the whole Christmas season, I’d have to head for the woods to sit in blessed silence.
          As it is, I turn 63 on Saturday, and my sister and my BiL will be here most of next week. The tunnel has light!

          Glad to see your sense of humor is intact.

            1. There shall be stories..
              A three hen flock of wild turkeys lives in the block of my sister’s Airbnb. Sissy has a chihuahua with an attitude and a snowsuit.

      2. It was a temp agency that helped get me into the full-time work force twentyish years ago, after a series of bunch of part-timing. I don’t know if they are still a thing.

        1. Son used a temp agency. His job immediately out of college required temp agency even though he was recruited by an existing employee at the company. In fact, even the chemistry labs were using a temp agency to hire even with employees at each lab recommending him for hire. The glitch on the latter were both labs up and went away. It is called “6 months temp to hire”. Can be less as it was for son. Gives the company a chance to try out the new employee or cut loose if not fitting in. When I was looking for work I avoided those positions like they had the plague. Not sure it is even possible to do now, not even in software.

        2. There are bunches of contract agencies that may help. Search on Contract Job Hunter Weekly for a $25 dollar a year newsletter with a lot of resources.

          1. A lot of jobs locally are temp to hire, which require going through temp agencies. Not just manufacture, but professional too. This includes companies who pay for successful reference to their own employees. Process is the current employee refers a friend to the temp agency for the company. The applicant then uses the friend as one of their references.

            Trend has been happening for 30+ years, that I’m aware of. Makes it easier for companies whose applicants don’t work out those first 6 months. First doesn’t count against company on unemployment stats and fees. Second company doesn’t have to worry about any benefits. Third discrimination issues are harder to prove against company.

            Personally I avoided the software firms using this method. Didn’t mean where I was hired didn’t have 6 month “trial period” built in. Just they weren’t going through temp agencies.

            1. I refused to go through the temp agency. The agency called me back and said they still wanted me to meet the people, and it could go as a direct hire.
              Had a lovely interview this morning, and I’m going to visit the facility for a second interview on January 6th.
              I’ve become convinced that a key to restoring the Republic (or at least making the attempt) is simply saying “no” when given ultimatums, limits, or rules.
              “No. We won’t be doing that anymore.”

              1. The way son’s worked was recruited by friend who worked at company. Went to temp agency employees were sourced from, filled out application. Let friend know when turned in. Friend goes to company HR. Company HR has agency pull son’s application. Company interviews. Hired through temp agency for 6 months, then transfers to company hire at 6 months (or before).

                Same process outlined when he was looking for professional chemistry lab position with the three local companies. Difference was he had mentors helping him with custom resumes VS generic application. Got to the point of turning in resume to both company and the professional temp agency. As well as mentors informing their HR (each were working to get him on their lab shifts). Then the companies were bought out, facilities shutdown, resulting in the mentors each scrambling for their jobs. Area went from 3 to 0 lab companies within 4 months!

                So while going through a temp agency, not actually using the temp agency to find the job.

                I’ve been head hunted by agencies (what part of “not moving” don’t they understand? I mean. Really! Also, mostly since I retired. Again … Retired? And you are contacting me?) But I’ve never gone through one to get a job. I avoided the temp to hire programming jobs like they were the plague. But then I’ve been out of the job hunting market now since ’04 when I got my last job. I still looked for awhile (grass potentially greener) but never jumped. Wasn’t even tempted to call when two former engineers purchased the right to pickup shelved software and reconstitute part of Percon that went away after PSC purchased it then went bankrupt, late 2010; 8 years after I was cut from PSC. Percon was where I’d worked. One of the engineers had been my manger. But, already been where I’d landed for over 6 years. Was over 50. Plus other reasons related to startups.

                1. I see a difference in how professionals get work compared to us generalists. Which makes complete sense.

                  1. While son was looking for chemistry lab work on graduation. His employment is actually manufacturing (cabinets) jobs after graduating college. The temp agency was the method to get the first job, where he worked up to supervisor on swing shift. He was recruited away by another cabinet making company giving up supervisor position/pay (kind of, a lateral move pay wise, with hints of a pay raise after 6 months). But, it also put him on day shift (current company only runs the one shift).

                    My job hunting was the professional route. Even that has been changing over the last 44 years since our first job out of college. That job was posted on the school bulletin board. Hubby applied. They asked him to have me apply. Timing on me starting (I had to finish my last term) and him starting had 3 people hired between us (also where we learned I needed to be sure to include my maiden name on job applications, even when not asked …) The computer jobs were all found via want ads in the local paper.

                    1. I found my current job on Craigslist.

                      Couldn’t do that today. The government passed some law around 2017 that made Craigslist liable for all the prostitutes soliciting in the singles forums. They shut down the singles lists, the hookers moved to the part-time jobs section, so they shut that down too.
                      “As with most cases of unfathomable stupidity, this one began and ended with the government.”

      3. Ironically. SIL. Who is pushing 70. Walked into Fred Meyer locally and immediately got a job. She also gets to set her own work hours/time. She was working nights. Told her supervisor she had to be off work by 5 PM. She now works 8 – 5 PM. Not a door greater either. Fred Meyers doesn’t use door greater unless they have an employee on limited duty.

        1. Excellent! I suspect that happens more often than my cynicism recognizes.
          You just have to keep pushing for what you need.

          1. She by passed temp agencies and HR. Just walked in. She has no retail or grocery experience. Other experience, yes, not those. Her “gaps” are numerous. She’s always worked short term gigs and has been retired for years. She does have the gift of gab and social.

  20. Something to watch out for. There’s a story that the BLS is cooking the books for Biden. Tucker seems to have it. It’s possible, but not probable. There’s a gap between the jobs number on the two job surveys — establishment and household. The establishment shows job increases and the household shows no growth. The difference is something called the birth/death adjustment, The long and short of it is that the birth/death adjustment ALWAYS overshoots at turning points. They’ll adjust it over the next few years. Likely nothing suspicious.

    1. “Likely nothing suspicious”?!!?

      You’re talking about the government there. Suspicious should be your first assumption. Everything about the government should be considered suspicious. ‘Guilty until proven innocent’ should be the standard for government.
      If you tried to run a business the way they run the government, you would be in jail or the poor-house within six months.

    2. Likely? It has been clearly established. They claimed before the election that 1 million jobs had been created in the quarter prior to the election; in fact that number was a mere 10,000. That is not a mistake. It was a deliberate lie intended to help Democrats in the 2022 elections.

      Nothing any government agency does can be trusted, as they view their purpose as to serve themselves and the thing that serves themselves is keeping Democrats in power and expanding the power of the Democratic Party and government at all level. They believe the people serve THEM.

      1. I’m really not so sure anything of the sort has been established. The same thing happens every recession. It’s not the count, it’s the company birth/death adjustment. This sort of thing is the curse of high frequency reporting and it’s actually disclosed. Nobody reads the disclosures, but that not my problem since I do read the disclosures, and the definitions, and the work papers. It’s my business to read these things.

        The first release is almost entirely estimate, a moving average essentially, as they gather more data, then they adjust it, for years. The household survey is more a count. establishment is better looking back over the long run! The household is better at turning,points. neither is good at turning points, but HH is better. Most government statistics are like this. People want monthly statistics, but it takes longer than that to gather the data so you have a hybrid count/estimate and revise it until it stabilizes.

        This is one of the reasons I don’t use it in my models; I only use things with market prices or statistics that don’t get revised like the ISM report on business.

        I’m not carrying any water for the BLS, but I’m seeing all sorts of noise from politicians and press about this and I’m pretty sure that it’s actually nothing more than the usual thing. Sure the democrats crowed about it, but Trump would have done the same thing. The press would almost certainly be pointing out the discrepancy.

        We won’t have a good estimate of jobs now for another couple of years. the last adjustment in 2019 went back over 10 years when they finally caught up to 2008/9. It’s that bad, no malice necessary. .

        1. That’s all true, but I’m used to hearing the revised figure be off by 10-20%, sometimes up to 50%. Not TWO ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE.

          And the timing is, shall we say, suspect.

          1. Estimates compared to other estimates, both done by BLS as it happens. The Philly Fed estimate is very narrow and they haven’t entirely disclosed how they estimated it. And yes they have been off by that much, it was that way in 2008 and again in 2012. I suspect the HH survey is probably too high too, Dollars to doughnuts they’ll have us in recession starting last August or so. NBER calling a recession tends to be a good sign the bottom is in.

            My only caution is to not overreact, since this is almost certainly not malice. Though I will grant you a sufficient level of stupidity is indistinguishable from malice. There’s no shortage of things to vent one’s outrage on.

            1. You mean they’re finally going to admit that we’ve been in a recession since last August?

              ‘Cause I already knew that.

              And I’m not even an economist.
              “If you laid all the economists in the world end to end, they would all point in different directions.”

              1. Ah, you picked up on that. Well spotted, 2000 too, that’s when birth/death first came in. The Establishment survey is a straight line extrapolation from the birth/death adjustment, the Household is flat. The gap expands every month until they do the revisions. It’s a systematic error so incompetence not malice.

                Every high frequency statistic, government or not, that uses hard to gather information has this problem. For jobs, they used to just publish the count and then there were constant adjustments so they introduced the birth/death (of firms) adjustments to make the statistic more “useful” and reduce the frequency and magnitude of adjustments. It actually works well most of the time. When it doesn’t work is at turning points,,like now when it breaks. I would argue that turning points are all that matters, but that’s not how it’s built.

                In all these cases, you’re comparing small sample survey data gathered with different rules and different assumptions. All the numbers are adjusted to some extent, again with different rules and different assumptions. The best real time indicator of a turning point is the divergence in the statistics,

                All these data are on the FRED Econ data site so you can confirm what I’m saying, I don’t make this stuff up. You need to use the ALFRED portion that shows how it was reported at the time rather than the current reporting, which has been revised.

                Look, I have no dog in this fight, it just struck me as an interesting thing that tied in to the theme of the post. Believe what you will, unless you’re building real time predictive models when you’d better understand it or you’ll lose a lot of money.

                In other news, the SEC complaint against SBF has been published. Bankman-
                Fried is going to fry, unless he Epsteins first, Fraud from day one, all that politician money is going to get clawed back. Popcorn bought and popped.

                1. And his girlfriend (?) and sidekick are “cooperating with prosecutors.” And rumor has him going to Epstein’s jail.

            2. “it was that way in 2008 and again in 2012.”

              Hmmmm…. there’s a common event between those years and 2022….. what could it be???

              Why, yes, I am a cynical old misanthrope.

        2. An estimate that is wrong by that much? Given how utterly politicized the administration is, it is patently clear that this is as much an accident as Oceania’s pronouncements about the amount of the chocolate ration. It is simply not plausible that the “estimate” was one million and the actual number was only ten thousand. Given the Democrats promotion of the Triumph of the Shrill speech and their painting political opponents as being literal Nazis who represent a threat to the nation itself, why wouldn’t they lie through their teeth.

          Simply put, nothing they say or publish can be trusted. Just look at the FBI calling the smoking gun evidence of their involvement in censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story as a “conspiracy theory”. These people are criminal thugs who are utterly dishonest and driven by one purpose-to rule over us and to subjugate the masses to their will.

          1. And here’s the real problem with our alleged betters. They have been taking our trust for granted so long….and it’s rotting out from under them. Bad for them, but bad for us too, since it makes us less able to trust when someone trustworthy comes along.

    3. The Epoch Times had a good article on that very topic today. The spread between the two is the largest since…. ever? Anyhow, the gap is big. And, because of… Philadelphia? The BLS, probably the same thing. They made an oopsie that was the difference between 1.1 million jobs “created” and 10,000. So now, no one trusts them.

      1. There’s also the creative use of “created”, ever since Obama. Most of those “created” jobs should have been marked re-activated due to Wuflu shennanigans.

  21. Looking forward to the next parts (and any further discussions on the various subjects that spawned this post). Hopefully seeing things laid out as such will help me make more sense of things I just can’t seem to wrap my head around. I am sorry I wasn’t on in time to add in my own service industry horror stories, though. Then again, considering how much of those involve fecal matter maybe it’s for the best…

      1. wordpress should have captured my email addy when I commented. I could message you on facebook if that would be less complicated.

        1. Dude. “WordPress should have” indicates “WordPress did no such thing” with a degree of reliability exceeded only by the promises of the Lord. 😎

          1. Given that it is making me log in with Every. Bloomin. Comment. Yes, WP Delenda Est with fire, brimstone, and malice aforethought.

  22. Holy. Shit.

    Why is Zelenskyy giving a speech in front of the U.S. Congress? Why are they all cheering at every other sentence? WTF,O?

    Ukraine is a small country on the other side of the world. We have no significant trade with them. Their importance to us is minimal. And yet the kleptocrat-in-charge is addressing Congress like he was the U.S. President.

    MaligNancy isn’t tearing up his speech, either.
    Candidate Joe Biden, August 2020: “We have assembled the most extensive, comprehensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”

    Minutes later: “What do you mean, I wasn’t supposed to say that?”

    1. Because they are money laundering communists, applauding their trained seal. It is infuriating. The POS couldn’t even bother to get out of his dirty underwear.

    2. Hey now, I have shares in Raytheon and Lockheed. 😇.

      If you’re going to waste money, at least waste it on American jobs.

      1. Also the part where the entire history of leaders / diplomats sucking up to other countries they need help from getting memory holed is getting really old.

        Anyone reeeeing about Zelensky sucking up as some newfound horror needs to go look at the massive slobber session the French did to the US just over a hundred years ago.

        1. I think some of it is the sucking back some folks are indulging. I have no problem with Zelensky doing his job (fundraising) but the image of Kamala and Nancy lowering a giant Ukrainian flag behind him was cringey. (Or was that Phtoshopped in by mischief-makers? It’s only too plausible).

          1. The entire point of the big show the Democrats are putting on (with help from the usual RINOs) is to convince Putin to escalate, as the Democrats believe that the escalation will enable them to use it as a pretext to go after domestic political opponents and expand dictatorial power here, as they did using the CCP virus as a pretext. The only place that Democrats would rather see a nuke go off than Ukraine is Tel Aviv.

              1. On steroids. At least FDR acted like he wanted the USA to win the war and as if the USA was the good guy. The current cadre has made it clear they think that we need to lose one in the name of “global redistributive justice” and clearly consider the USA to be source of all global evil.

      2. Latest had 44 billion (with a B) in it for Ukraine. A single Javelin runs ~$180K, a stinger ~$120K (both with launcher, reloads probably slightly cheaper) so ~$300K buys one each. That’s 150,000 pairs. Admittedly that money is not all for weapons and certainly not all those two weapons but it does seem a fair bit generous. Hell the U.S. Navy only asked for 50 billion to support the whole of the Marine Corps for 2023. Mind you I’m all for the old lets you and him fight strategy, but this does seem a bit profligate with the funds.

        1. It’s called money laundering back to Papa Joe, and most of those weapons or at least a good portion will end up on the black market. A Javelin and a stinger were both confiscated by German police not long ago.

          1. The simplest way to money launder in this situation is to not do it at all.

            Because all you have to do as a politician is buy more weapons from the companies which contribute to your campaigns.

        2. While that is somewhat relevant, it isn’t the objection which was registered.

          And, morover, stopping Russia from starting WWIII with their oh invading is awesome nonsense is worth a lot.

          Again, that has NOTHING to do with the claim I was responding to, which was that we had no substantial trade.

          1. Fair enough. Ukraine has done better than expected mostly due to their stubbornness and some serious logistics issues on the Russian side, mostly self inflicted that Ukraine took advantage of. My concern is that throwing money around like that has a real tendency to turn governments into out and out kleptocracies even when they aren’t half in the tank to start with.

      3. “good grief, it’s like the size of Alaska” – with a much better climate, and a huge area that is flat with an acceptable climate for wheat, corn, and several other staple crops.

        It’s the second largest country in Europe by area, 230,000 square miles and 41 million population. Russia has about 25 times the area, but most of that is Siberia, which both the Romanovs and the Communists used mainly for prison camps since Russians weren’t volunteering to go.

        The Russian population is about 3-1/2 times Ukraine’s, not as poor, and with a much, much bigger industrial economy. Russia might finally beat Ukraine by sheer numbers, but the last time a Russian government required such an all-out military effort without strictly Russian territory being invaded (WWI), a revolution overthrew that government, pulled them out of the war, shot the ruler with his whole family, their servants and doctor, and even the doctor’s daughter, and killed nearly everyone else who knew anything about running the country or their industries. Putin might be too crazed by now to worry about a recurrence of that, and I don’t know if the other powerful Russians have the power to rein him in (by assassination or confinement to a max-security nut-house) before he dooms them all.

        1. “with a much better climate, and a huge area that is flat with an acceptable climate for wheat, corn, and several other staple crops.”

          Similar to Alberta, where a LOT of Ukrainian refugees apparently ended up. I spent 5 months there in 2014, and it was the only place I’ve been in the US and Canada where there were enough Ukrainians to support a number of Ukrainian ethnic restaurants, churches, and businesses.

  23. The story about Stanford U having about as many admin personnel as they do students? Yeah, that indicates something profoundly broken. Their mission is not to educate undergraduates … it’s to employ administrators.
    And I am a graduate of a no-name California public university, and recall getting a darned good education out of it. And so passes the glory of the Cal State university system.

  24. When you tell generations that they are entitled to things, they start to believe it. They won’t do certain jobs because they have been told they deserve better or those jobs are beneath them. What happens then is get get cities full of people who won’t work, and feel they are entitled to better. They feel life has let them down, or they have been cheated. You can find them in every city living in tents. Life doesn’t owe you anything, and anything in life you get you earn. The good and the bad you earn it. Mostly by the choices you make, not the choices others have made for you.

    1. From observation– it’s not that.

      Iowa actually has TEEN KIDS GETTING HIRED.

      Because demand is so high it’s worth jumping through the hoops to hire a teen.

      And no, it’s not every city they’re in tents. That’s a big city thing.

    2. Sigh. There you go again. Yes. Those darn kids.
      Look, yeah, there are entitled kids out there. Their parents were entitled too.
      BUT THAT’S NOT THE PROBLEM. Most kids are trying really hard, and there’s just no path to “normal life.”

  25. “The picture is too chaotic for a single explanation, but if you understand the trends, you’ll be better able to survive and thrive.”

    The Reader looks forward to the series with interest. As an Odd, he struggles to understand what Eric Raymond called on an Instapundit thread ‘the mind virus of Marxism’, which is today’s incarnation of a much older human problem which has been described, but not explained in many writings older than Marx. The human race has got to get a handle on why large numbers of its members go bats*** crazy and attempt to defy reality en mass periodically. Our survival as a species depends on gaining that understanding and acting on it without worldwide mass deaths and thereby breaking the historical pattern

  26. Whatever the root cause, many kids have no real life responsibilities, Mommy & Daddy got this. I cannot remember the last time I saw a kid mowing a yard, washing their parent’s car, putting the trash out, helping repair a car. When you go to Panera, some are lounged (feet up in the head area) as if they’re hanging out in the basement TV room. Obviously, not a universal situation, but I see it enough that it’s a contributor. It parallels the schools. How are they / can they survive w/o work + paycheck? Mommy & Daddy got this. And that’s augmented by 100 dimensions of a welfare state that I don’t think will be permitted to contract.

    1. Do you have children? Under the age of 35?
      Look, yeah, you see kids slouching. So did your parents. So did your grandparents. And their parents. World without end.
      “Kids these days” is a universal explanation. It is also wrong.
      You see no responsibilities. I see schools demanding so much button counting they can’t figure out how to do anything else. It was like that in my older kid’s school days and he’s 31. It got worse with the younger, four years later. And it’s gotten worse since.
      Your diagnostic is COMPLETELY wrong.
      Sure, there are kids of very rich parents who can afford not to do anything.
      And then there’s the crowd of the desperate who CAN’T do anything.
      LOOK AGAIN. Look past your prejudices and the easy explanation.

      1. Can confirm. I was out of grade school before the whole “teach to test” really got going, but I did run headlong into “must cram in all these extra college courses you don’t actually need”. And I’ve observed a lot of younger people. They’re so overscheduled between school and “you MUST have X extracurricular activities to do college” that all many have the energy for is doomscrolling on Tumblr.

        Some are trying to work anyway. The places they can get work? I knew at least one girl who went in bluntly telling management that she was still in school and would schedule days off for major exams. Guess what they did after a few months?

        You got it. Scheduled her on-shift during a major exam.

        What else could she do? She quit.

        1. Chik-fil-A here has a great reputation because they try to work with HS and college kids for schedules and such. Had a student I wrote letters for work there, and he praised his manager to the skies.

        2. Mid ’70s. Had a job with a place that sold alcohol. Was < 21 (18). Then could not touch anything that had alcohol in it, not even empties. This was back when there were “family” and not-family sides. I could not work the latter side without getting me and the company in a lot of trouble. Not even cleanup. Main manager was in a car accident so district manager was managing. I got yelled at for not working the alcohol serving side, even after reminding I was not 21. (If it had just been the company, and that manager, I’d let them get in trouble. Me? Not a chance.) I found a different job. Okay, already had a new job lined up, was giving notice after shift. I could see what was coming.

          When I was in school and working full time. Little different situation. Until the employer left town (moved to be part of the AS400 rollout) they were the ones pushing the full 4 year degree in computers. One class a term, and my “lunch hour(s) varied.” The job that replace it was part time, and I was back in school full time. Again I varied work hours as needed for classes and exams. Now projects, that was my co-project students problem to work around my schedule … which was interesting at times. But employers? Not like they hadn’t been informed. Yes, had/have a support system. Not parents. Husband.

          In the example where employer scheduled hours during major exam. I would have filed a complaint. Went to the exam. Let company riff, if it went that far. Filed for unemployment (company “broke” contract), and looked for work. Now would I have done this in early ’70s just starting out in school and work? Probably not. Pushing 30, in school and working? 100%. There is a huge difference between being 18-20, and 28 – 30, and not just 10 years older.

    2. I’ve been working with the local rugby club for the last year or so, mostly young, mostly working class, men in their twenties. Had to get used to the tattoos, which do seem to have become ubiquitous. My conclusion is that the kids are alright. Just stay away from the media and rich kids.

  27. In late 1985, Winter term of my senior year, I actually told my primary instructor, “that I would learn most of what I needed for my job once I went to work” Early in Spring term, she headed an attempt to force me, and three others, out of the course.
    None of us had poor grades; none of us had safety violations (Registered Nursing course).
    There was no legitimate reason to force any of us out but that didn’t matter. We had each displeased the haters. The other three dropped but I’m more stubborn and refused.
    Turns out, I DID learn more once I went to work.

    1. Every junior level class “now that we’ve gotten rid of the D and C students ….” Me: Silent: “Um. Wait! What?” …. Suddenly started pulling A’s and B’s. Stubborn? Just might describe me.

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