Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Get A Job! If You Can!

Today David Sirota was on the Bill Press Show discussing the heinous practice of employers checking job applicants’ credit history as a condition for hiring. It was an interesting discussion and one which has been long overdue; I have never, ever understood why this practice is done, or why it’s even allowed. Indeed, this is just another reason why my blood boils when Republican politicians talk about the unemployed as “lazy” or luxuriating in the welfare state hammock and unmotivated to work because they’re supposedly living large on unemployment benefits -- laughable claims in and of themselves, as anyone who collects unemployment knows. But even more ludicrous when one realizes how the deck is stacked against those trying to find a job to begin with.

I first heard about this practice a few years ago. An acquaintance had her credit ruined after she suffered cardiac arrest and actually momentarily died during a very minor surgical procedure. Unable to work during recovery, she lost her job -- and with a medical malpractice lawsuit pending, the medical bills piled up. She was forced to declare bankruptcy, which haunted her during her subsequent job search. I was astonished that something like this was even going on.

Dear employers: why in God’s name do you think it’s okay to, a) search someone’s credit history before you will hire them and, b) not hire someone because of bad credit or a bankruptcy? Doesn’t it seem obvious that people work because they need to? How are people supposed to climb out of the debt hole if you won’t give them a freaking job because they’re in debt? Hello?

This is reprehensible and just another example of the way business dicks working people around. We hear about the war on working people, well this is Exhibit A. How adversarial is it to assume someone with a bad credit history is going to steal from you, for example? If that's the case, do you check the credit histories of those whom you currently employ? No? Well why not, then? It's not like only unemployed people get into debt.

It’s like there’s a conspiracy of business interests trying to get as many people in desperate straights as possible so they’ll take the crappiest deals thrown their way. Get people desperate enough and they'll work for peanuts and no benefits. And while we're at it, let's make sure they can't unionize and try to level the playing field. No, what this country needs is a permanent underclass, amiright? We need some really desperately poor folks to do our dirty work for nothing -- especially since that whole illegal immigrant well is starting to run dry. Hey, too bad we abolished slavery, maybe we can have de facto slave labor, how about that? “Right to work,” my ass.

Seriously, that's how it looks from where I sit. It's almost like they planned it or something.

I was happy to see that our own Tennesseee Rep. Steve Cohen filed a bill back in January to outlaw this practice. I’m sure the Republican-controlled House will get right on that [/sarcasm]. I also understand several states are looking to ban the practice as well. Tennessee should be one of them.

Come on, Tennessee Democrats: show the working people of this state you understand the issues they face. While Tennessee’s Republicans are more interested in peeping inside women’s vaginas and battling the non-existent threat of Sharia Law, here’s an issue where you can really stand apart from the do-nothing opposition and show you stand for helping people get back to work.

Just a thought.