Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The daily dumbass no one at WZBH will report
Two of us happened to listen to The Worst Show Ever Monday morning. Listening is not what makes us the daily dumbass. Listening with the hope that maybe the show would be funny is what makes us the daily dumbass. As Albert Einstein pointed out - insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
We've pointed out, on more than one occasion, that what makes the morning show such a tedious, humorless, bore is the monaural hosts running the show. Mono recordings lack depth and direction. Can't get a more apt description of the morning show than that.
WZBH will be hard pressed to produce an engaging show with depth and direction as long as the powers that be at the station choose to retain a self-centered, everything-is-about-me yapper, who lacks any real life knowledge, but is full of conservative-think slogans that sound good, but lack substance. Compounding the problem is the powers' that be decision to team the yapper up with a puppy, who lacks any real life experience to be able to connect the dots on any given subject without first consulting the hippest conspiracy site available. At least the powers that be decorated the station with a wallflower, you know, like one of those singing bass novelty items. Every once in awhile, the yapper or puppy will push a button, and the wallflower entertains us with a couple of sentences that don't add any depth or direction to the conversation, but does let the listener know her batteries are still working.
Monday's show paints a perfect picture of the above description. In typical conservative slogan speak, collecting unemployment is a form of a free handout. Freeloaders rather collect unemployment than go to work.
As we stated as far back as the Matt Walsh days when unemployment was at its peak, collecting unemployment is not a free handout any more than letting your health insurance pay for a medical procedure is a free handout. All workers pay a premium to fund each state's unemployment insurance program. Employers match the premium payment, usually two dollars for every dollar the employee pays. Unemployment insurance is just that - insurance. It is no different than your health insurance or car insurance. And one doesn't get to collect unemployment benefits indefinitely. Most state benefits end after six months. Congress has extended benefits during these hard economic times, but, at most, one can collect benefits for an additional six to eight months. One can't make a "career" of collecting unemployment benefits.
Food stamps and welfare is a favorite topic of conservative slogan throwers to bash about so, of course, the yapper couldn't resist. The freeloaders on the food stamp and welfare programs need to get a job. Facts, of course, don't support the conservative slogan speak.
Sixteen percent of Americans receive food stamps, with almost half of those recipients (49%) being under 18 and another 8% being elderly. Of food stamp recipients, almost half live in a household with an income from employment. The average monthly benefit received for an individual is $133 and for a family, $247. Go ahead. Try to feed yourself on that budget.
Welfare is even skimpier. Four percent of Americans receive TANF/AFDC (welfare) benefits. The average monthly payout to a family of four is $900, which translates to $5.62 an hour. Go ahead. Try to raise your family on that wage.
Even if we add the two programs together, the average recipient receives benefits equivalent to $7.16 an hour, just below the $7.25 national minimum wage. Before you are tempted to claim that a recipient on one program must also be on the other program, keep in mind that only ten percent of food stamp recipients are also on welfare.
Now compare the rates of welfare and food stamp recipients to the poverty level. The poverty rate stands at 15% and is defined, for a family of four, as $11.32 per hour. The median wage of a retail worker is $10.15 per hour. Ironically, or maybe by design as America loses its traditional middle class manufacturing jobs to foreign markets, 19% of those employed nationwide work in the retail industry, an industry that pays more than half of its workers poverty level wages.
In fact, we can connect the dots further. In a typical, national chain retail store that employs 150 people, 95% of the employees earn at or near poverty level wages, and that's assuming all employees work full time (40 hours per week). If both adults in a household work in the retail industry, their combined income would still fall short of the median household income of $51,000.
All of these figures, while not readily available, can be found by digging through various government websites. But our monaural hosts have no interest in adding depth to a discussion. Cheap slogans and empty rhetoric is about all one can expect from a morning crew sadly under-qualified to talk about any subject with any degree of expertise. It is a whole lot easier to deride imaginary lazy people and throw around empty slogans than it is to talk about facts and interpreting those facts in a meaningful manner.
We still earn the daily dumbass reward, though. We'll listen to the Worst Show Ever, again, in the near future and, sadly, we'll still expect different results. This time, though, we're stacking the odds in favor of a different outcome by providing a cheat sheet. Household Incomes Remain Flat Despite Improving Economy will hopefully inspire at least one of the hosts (our bets are on the wallflower) to break the formulaic mold that has become the staple script of the Worst Show Ever and challenge the empty and uneducated rhetoric to add depth and direction to the show.