Welcome to October!
Who could believe a government shut down would be in store for the first day of one of my favorite months of the year? The "shut down" has more of a symbolic purpose than anything, and I'll be curious what comes out of it.
I know I don't typically post political perspectives on here...but today might be a little exception. I think those beltway groupies need to get their stuff together, ASAP.
I have spent the past few month working a couple of jobs, one of them at a PR firm and the other at a staffing agency. Both have given an enormous amount of experience and knowledge. Of course that is to be expected of a recent grad entering the work world, but both the nature and diversity of my two places of employment have been particularly insightful.
I have always been interested in politics. My family has been very politically motivated, my Grandfather and Uncle both working in the political arena...and my dad growing up in the Capital. My favorite show (political ties aside) is The West Wing. I studied politics in school, getting a degree in politics and government. Hell, I even have a close-up picture with Mitt Romney! That said, it can still be a bit challenging to turn words into action, especially when the nation is so divided. I like to steer clear of drama and controversy as much as I can, probably why Public Relations is a good career fit!
I come from a very Republican family and with a nice dose of four years at a liberal arts college, I feel like I am pretty well-rounded when it comes to politically leanings. But doesn't everyone say that?
In the past couple of months as ObamaCare takes shape, I am quite concerned. Working in a staffing agency we see thousands of resumes come through each month. Men and women are desperately looking for work, but more than anything they are looking for full-time employment. Due to the increased cost of health case (easily a 50% raise on the majority of plans), businesses are cutting employee's hours, putting them at 29 hours per week. This will give them "part-time" status, not-qualifying them for company healthcare coverage.
Of course, they will still have health care and that means the money will come from the rest of the citizens trying to make ends meet with their own package increases. Government subsidies will cover anyone below the $90,000 income level (which is a lot of people), but it still provides a challenge for those above that bracket. Yes coming close to six-figures is a lot of money, don't get me wrong (I'd LOVE to have that price point in a salary someday), but it still puts a burden on families who are readjusting their budgets.
You could put the blame on business owners who are not willing to employ people beyond 29 hours, but you have to understand the people whose livelihood depends on their business and its success. As businesses owners take into consideration this huge budget increase, why wouldn't they lead their companies find more efficient ways to complete the job by reassessing work load internally? It would be far more cost-effective to provide a pay raise to someone to take on an additional task, than it would be to hire another employee with salary, benefits and more included in expenses. This is easily reinforced when business owners factor the inevitable increase in both their business and personal costs, for healthcare, taxes and other expenses. It only makes sense that the appropriate steps would be taken to ensure fiscal responsibility and security. And this is the step many businesses are taking. Cut backs.
There are plenty of Americans who want to work and make their own income. This should be something they are able to achieve! It becomes a problem when "affordable" health care comes into play, essentially enabling men and women without jobs to have the same benefits regardless of employment status. With as many men and women I find eager for work, I find just as many (if not more) content by living off of unemployment and going through the required 2 submissions a week to establish that they are looking for a job. We need a greater drive for men and women to work and this shouldn't come from providing benefits for those who feel that they are in "comfortable position" not having to work. Additionally, men and women who DO want to work, shouldn't be limited because of a financial burden that has been inflicted from governmental policies.
Working with CEOs one day and then chatting with fork lift drivers the next has given me a great deal of both perspective and empathy. This is definitely not what I had originally planned years, even months ago, but I think it has taught me an immense amount.
My story might not be the most reflective of the American people, the middle class, the business owners, etc. But I can give you a side that might not be the most studied.
It's a challenging time and I couldn't be more grateful for the hard work and fiscal responsibility of my parents. I can only hope that I provide the same thing for my loved ones one day.
I do hope that a successful compromise arises from this shut-down. One that can pick America up from its foundation, straighten its roots, and allow the nation and its people to move in a direction promoting strong and promising growth. What that exact fix might be, I can't say for certain now. But one day if you see me waving on the South Lawn, I'll be sure to tell you!