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Monday, December 09, 2013

A blue collar perspective. Over five decades of change...

I read a disturbing article in a recent lib rag The Week that was authored by a flaming lib (huffington-puffington post's own Samantha Paige Rosen) who suggests the republicans are responsible for the increase and continued dependence on welfare by our population (note I don't say "citizens"). For the record, I am neither a republican or a democrat... I have no party affiliation and recognize good and bad in all party politics though I do realize it's become a necessary evil, this party politic thing.

I wrote the following comment in response to that article...

We had a good family friend who ran a local construction company back in the 1950's through the mid 1980's. He served on ship in the Navy throughout WWII and rumor had it he won a sizeable chunk of property in Washington State from another sailor in a poker game. After the war he was discharged from the Navy and traveled to Washington to look at the property. He decided to stay and started a small construction/development company. I worked for him and his sons for years when I was growing up. We built houses, barns, garages, stores, gas stations, neighborhoods, schools... anything. He took immense pride in taking on the "small jobs" as well as the "big jobs" in the community. He'd employ local kids like me during the summer and spring and winter breaks to teach us a trade, help us learn responsibilities, work ethic, etc. and pay us hourly wages higher than minimum wage. He'd insist that we pay into Social Security. Nothing was "under the table". If something happened medically to us on or off the job he'd either help us or our parents foot the bill or pay it outright, depending on the medical need and the situation. His whole family was employed in the business as well.

When the Dems seized power in the carter days he started getting "nickled and dimed" to death by new government fees, additional permit requirements, new, more stringent government regulations, new types of permits and higher permit fees, new taxes at the local, state and federal levels that made it financially impractical to participate in certain types of construction, locally and elsewhere. He downsized his work force in direct correlation to the demand. When the Reagan era kicked in he saw a good bump in business and renewed his community effort re: providing employment for the local kids. However, he had to compete against a new group of "contractors". Those who were hiring illegals and throwing them into the market at "minimum wage" (rarely did the workers receive minimum wage but the contractors charged their clients minimum wage at least, usually scale wage). This was in the 1950's through the mid 1980's.

Though still active his business today is a small office that manages business properties, low income rentals and sells some real estate that remains owned by the corporation. It's a minute fraction of what it once was and yet it still tries to employ some youth in the community. The problem is few want to work the jobs offered. They'd just as soon "play" through the school's summer, winter and spring breaks than learn a trade, learn some work ethic and learn how to provide for themselves, at least.

He died several years ago. He was one helluva mentor, a dear friend and like a second father to my brother and I. I'm sure he'd be ashamed of the youth today. Al was a democrat to the core! He never "blamed" anyone for the business downturn but did tell me to "stay out of politics!" one time when I showed a hankering for it. He said it's an evil, destructive cancer citing it's "the bane of freedom, of democracy".

Al! You are so VERY RIGHT! As usual, I want to thank you for your blue collar wisdom!

Rest In Peace Al!

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