My BFF, who is a girl, who is in HR and who loves cats – yep – that Cynical Girl, Laurie Ruettimann – wrote a post this week about an article I sent her yesterday from CNN Money titled The 53%: We Are NOT Occupy Wall Street.
The article is about this great group of American’s who pay taxes – no that’s not 99 percent of Americans – it’s about 53 percent of us. Us 53 percent allow for our non-paying 99 percenters to go sit in a park and attempt to speak for all of us not making as much as the richest 1 percent of Americans. From CNN Money:
They call themselves the 53% … as in the 53% of Americans who pay federal income taxes. And they are making their voices heard on Tumblr blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages devoted to stories of personal responsibility and work ethic.
The number originates in the estimate that roughly 47% of Americans don’t pay federal income tax, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The 53 percenters stress the fact that they are paying the taxes that support the government assistance the protesters say they want.”
Attack the rich? Hey, I want to win Powerball!
I’ve already said in another post here at TLNT (Occupy Wall Street? You Probably Just Work Hard and Occupy Your Cube), that I don’t understand these 99 percent-ers. It’s not that I don’t support (or not support) their cause; I’m indifferent. Not indifferent to those out there looking for a job – I feel their plight — but I’m indifferent to how the 99 percenters are going about voicing their outrage and choosing to go after rich people as their target.
The problem with our economy is not rich people. We’ve always had rich people, and God willing, America will always have rich people. I mean seriously, the Lotto is the last great American Dream we have. Everybody wants to win the Powerball — $173 million this Saturday; I already bought my ticket, so this is probably my last post after Saturday. Sorry suckers – but I’ll be rich! Just ordered my “I’m in the 1 percent-er cube, get off my lawn!” hoodie.
Here’s what I know: Right after sending this article to Laurie, I drove home in my SUV. As I drove up various busy streets I counted seven (7) “Help Wanted” signs – seven! – in about a two-mile stretch. “Help Wanted” — in Michigan!
I just left my desk, where I have over 100 openings I’m trying to find talent for, and I just got off the phone with companies planning to hire many more in the near future. I spoke to one company in my area who could hire as many people as I could find – these are good jobs – potentially making $40k a year. The guy I’m talking to can’t find people who are willing to do the work.
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“The vast majority .. want to be employed”
I then drove by a small park in downtown Lansing, Michigan, less than a mile from the State Capitol building, and I saw 25 or so 99 percenter protestors and their camp. Are the jobs available all white collar jobs paying $65k a year, sitting behind a desk? No, they are not. I’m sure most of the “Help Wanted” signs have some manual labor involved, starting at the bottom, but all have some potential.
Here’s what HR has taught me over the last 20 years: Not everyone wants to be out of a job; the vast majority of people want to be employed. There is a percentage of the workforce that puts as little effort as they can to keep their job and still get paid. Under 5 percent unemployment is pretty much zero percent unemployment, because not many of us HR Pros want that bottom 4 percent. Of the 15 million Americans who are unemployed – out of 300 million Americans – 3 million of those don’t want to work to support themselves. That’s reality.
There are a lot of numbers out there, and everyone has their opinion, but I’m in HR so I’m not sharing mine. Being on the fence is where I’m most comfortable!