While filling out some job applications in our increasingly bleak economy something caught my attention.
Many applications ask how many hours one would like to work for a particular company. Normally, it brackets them as “Less than 20”; “21-30”; “31-40”; and “40+”. However, I saw something interesting while perusing the applications. From time to time, I would run across one that stopped at “31+” hours.
Now why would they do that? After all, we generally consider full-time work to be 40 hours. Why would the list stop ten hours short of normal?
Well, for the attentive and intellectually honest among you, it is because of Obamacare.
Under the law’s provisions, employers must start providing health insurance to employees once they hit 50 full-time workers or pay the penalty for failing to comply. The catch, however, is that the law considers employees who work 30 hours per week full-time.
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In other words, the government arbitrarily declared what constitutes full-time work, ostensibly to force more companies to provide health insurance to their employees. Of course, considering providing insurance adds considerable expense to any company’s payroll, whether it can “handle it” or not, this is serving to have the inverse effect. Instead of giving insurance to their workers, the companies drop workers or reduce them to part time hours.
This move has had several effects.
Most obviously, it reduces the amount of jobs available to people. In addition to companies hiring less to ensure their payroll does not blow up, many employees who have had their hours cut must take on additional jobs to maintain their standard of living. However, this move will have another, even worse effect on the population at large.
It will further devalue the concept of the full time job.
As the more or less defunct Occupy Wall Street demonstrated, there are many youth out there who believe they do not have to work. Or worse, they believe they don’t have to work hard nor in undesirable conditions. Working for a living has become a dated notion and, indeed, they owe the world nothing. OWSers go so far as to believe that the world owes them something. They are both wrong and right.
They’re wrong in believing the world owes them something. It owes them nothing if they fail to produce something of worth, and then it only owes them that which they have earned. But they are also right in their angst against the idea that they owe the world something. They don’t.
Progressivism has done much to obscure the true purpose of why we work. We work because we owe ourselves a good living. Working for a living is not some nebulous, unknowable notion. We produce to better ourselves and our families. If we can better the lives of others (and very few people don’t) through our labor, all the better.
This odd concept that earning a living is somehow “outdated” misses the point. People have to produce to live, survive, and thrive. What the Progressive mentality fails to take into account is that everything we use, whether we created it or not, was created by someone. Our food, our clothes and our devices did not appear on the Earth by magic. They were created by someone who needed the money to live.
We’re just fortunate to live in a country where we can easily pursue goals beyond basic subsistence living.
When we don’t work, we become stagnant. When don’t work, we don’t grow and aren’t challenged. Even worse, we become leeches: if we do not provide for ourselves, often someone else provides for us.
And demanding someone else provide for us, whether the parent or the state, robs us of something even more valuable–our dignity.