The last couple of days, Sean Hannity had an Occupier by the name of Harrison Schultz on two of his shows. This 29 y.o. man espoused his indignation at the job market, capitalist system, and how he was being underserved by our economic system. While much of his philosophy is laughable, Schultz may not be the outlier he appears to be. We may be creating a work ethic that teaches we don’t have to contribute to society but society must still support us.
From Hannity’s television show:
“HANNITY: You don't work. You get free money for school and you are complaining and whining --
SCHULTZ: Companies like Google, the most successful companies, they give away their products for and services for free, right? So people like us, we spend all of our time working on these social networks, providing content on social networks that they sell for ad space, we work.
HANNITY: I have a suggestion for you --
SCHULTZ: Goods and services, capitalism is becoming increasingly free. My suggestion to you is you should listen because I am telling you some pretty futuristic crazy stuff right now.”
Schultz is conveying the value system many people have today, including people older than him. He believes by putting content on Youtube, Facebook, or contributing to a site like the Huffington Post, he is “providing content” that businesses then “sell for ad space.” His very existence and amateur contributions to a social media outlet are “work” for which they should be compensated. Schultz then says he thinks goods and services are becoming “increasingly free.” By free, he means the access to information isn’t on a paying basis. However, his disconnect with the physical world is telling.
The next afternoon on Sean Hannity’s radio show, Schultz doubled down on the stupid. When Hannity said he was prepared to help Schultz get a job, the Occupier said he’d require eighty to a hundred thousand dollars per year. He told Hannity that with his experience and expertise as an information analyst that would be appropriate. Hannity asked him to provide an example of his work and Schultz said he was analyzing the ratings from the previous night’s show.
Hannity told him he was lying. The ratings numbers weren’t out yet. Where did Schultz get his data? Google, he replied. So, this 29 y.o. man who self-reported as having $200k in debt for college believed he should get a six figure salary for finding and interpreting data off Google. Data, we find out, that isn’t even accurate.
If only the hubris of this young man was unique.
From May 5, 2012 Star Tribune, in an article titled, ‘For recession generation, adulthood put on hold,’ Jean Hoppensperger tells us of the plight of young college graduate:
“After applying for about 100 jobs, the environmental science major even offered "one week of free labor'' last summer to get a foot in the door at the landscaping company. But that job ended with the season, as will the one she's in now. Her dream of becoming a park ranger or environmental educator is drifting away.
"There are so many people looking for work, you feel lost in the shuffle,'' said Kjellberg, 23. "I see my grandpa who lived through World War II and all he had to go through. Sometimes I feel like I'm living through something like that, too.''
We have an educational and social support system that has persuaded this young woman her job search in the equivalent of living through World War II. She is so detached from reality, the deprivation and sacrifice of fighting the Nazis and the Japanese is comparable to her looking for a civil service job.
Kjellberg, like Schultz, has been very poorly served by a culture of participation ribbons and self-esteem boosting. Instead of understanding the ebbs and flows of economic and social conditions, they are awash in a culture of dependency on society. They cannot grasp the concept of work or sacrifice as most people know it. They believe that society should serve them instead of the reverse.
These are able-bodied and educated people, whining and comparing their dire straits to the participants in a World War. What fuels this attitude?
Partially, it is the explosive growth of the dependent class in our society. When added to the educational and social practice of affirming every crayon drawing as worthy of framing, this economic dependence seeps into the work ethic and the decision-making process. From the Heritage Foundation:
“Growth in income and non-financial support among program participants has accompanied the increase of people who receive assistance. Per capita financial and non-financial support (adjusted to 2005 dollars) stood at about $7,314 in 1962. By 2010, this support had grown to about $32,748. (See Chart 13.) Extraordinarily, this amount was $302 higher than the average per capita disposable income of Americans in 2010. Thus, a case can be made that a citizen
is better off accepting government aid than working.”
What the Schultz-Kjellberg generation has concluded from their experience is startling, and correct. Our socio-economic policies are such that we reward any contribution as though it were noteworthy. We praise every scribble as brilliant. We pay more to those who are dependent on society than we do those who are actually contributing to our economy. It’s not surprising we have people rioting for “their fair share” when we reward dependence more than we do hard work.
The rise of the governmental dependency state and the Obamanomic model are destroying our work ethic and reward system. We cannot fix our socio-economic stagnation until we recognize how destructive these ideas are. Instead of rewarding production with prosperity, we are punishing those who provide the goods and services we need. Instead of letting able-bodied, but unproductive people get a little hungry, we reward them with even more. It’s an ethical system that punishes achievement and rewards sloth.
It must be corrected or the socio-economic downward spiral will continue and accelerate.