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Rebecca Clayton

Lance, you and I both should stop reading troll bait on the Internet, especially stupid blogs like that one.

Really. We need to stop giving page views to trash, which is what I just did. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "What a moroon!"

Lance Mannion

You're right, Rebecca, and I usually try. But somehow I found myself reading this one and when the word "meretricious" popped into my I head I couldn't resist. How often do I get to use it?

Also, considering Mrs M's situation, Wolfe's smug "if you only tried..." theme made me pop my cork.

JD

I'm not sure what social safety nets were provided for the Ingalls family besides the Homestead Act, Lance. Can you help me out here?J

Lance Mannion

JD, I think I was a little sloppy there. I didn't meant a government provided safety net. I meant, well, government.

The Little Libertarian on the Prairie.

In one of the towns where they settled for a while, Pa Ingalls was the treasurer for the local school district.

SAW

Harumph. Aside from being generally silly, I think the writer was trying to make a point about gumption and pluck and whatnot but failed.

I just spent seven years being a stay-home dad. The last real paying job I had before that was ten years ago working as an editor in Washington for a national publication. My resume has gone a bit stale and who the eff wants to sit and stare at a screen all day anyway. I've been reading the tea leaves of this economy for the past eight years, all the blogs, Madrak, Huffpo, Eschaton, this one, many others, blogged as Have Skunk for a while, but all the negativity just sapped my strength. I decided that blogging wasn't worth my health. Watched Henry Paulson freak out that day the markets crashed in '08. Raised two kids to school age. Was full of anxiety over how I'd make a living after the kids went to school, which the youngest did this past fall.

So I went down to the community college, enrolled in a 12-credit, five-week commercial driving course, and on Friday at 9:15 in the morning I received my CDL, Class A, from the DMV. At 2:30 that afternoon, less than six hours later, I interviewed for a job that will pay me more than I was making as an editor with eight years experience.

In order to exploit opportunities, you have to find your way to them, then work hard to add value to them, because merely being given an opportunity isn't the ticket to success -- you have to work it. Lead a kid to college but you can't make him think, etc. Been there, done that. Community colleges are one of the best educational values going. Try finding a five-week course and qualifying for a job that pays $20 an hour to start in this economy. Think it can't be done? You're not looking in the right places.

If I can do it, anybody can. Really. But nobody did this but me, using the resources I could see. If people don't know they can make an opportunity appear, they will never try.
How about not being so indignant about some notional theft of opportunity and blaming The Man and directing any anger therefrom arising into positive personal change?
Become the change you seek.

I wouldn't trust a word some HR twat wrote or said or take it seriously if my life depended on it. There are a million ways to get screwed in this world, in trucking, in business, and in politics. Avoid the snakes and shysters and do good for yourself and your family.

Vene

SAW,

No matter what skills people today get there simply are not enough openings to provide full employment. Approaching a macro scale problem with a micro scale solution is nonsensical.

SAW

Vene,

The general "economy" is actually millions of micro economies, including yours and mine. When I have a job, I will spend money and so will you, because you have the money to spend.

Before I enrolled in my commercial license class, my soon-to-be CDL class instructor told me that, "If you get your Class A license, you will get a job."

On Friday morning I paid for my license at DMV. Four hours later, I was in the office of an employer who is hiring and interested in hiring me. My preparation for that interview was stopping at the Dairy Queen to pee on the way over there.

And this is after not having worked for eight years, after having worked as an editor with eight years experience with an English degree.

So what you're saying, Vene, is simply wrong. Google trucking jobs. Google nursing jobs. Google certain jobs in certain facets of the economic spectrum and you will find that there is absolutely a shortage of workers there.

delagar

"...what social safety nets were provided for the Ingalls family besides the Homestead Act?"

Well, the Homestead Act is a pretty big one, first off.

But also, despite what the books make you believe, Mary's college tuition was paid for by the state (not by selling that cow).

Then there's the public school system, which besides educating all the kids, pays Laura's salary.

The railroad pays Pa's salary and keeps the family alive through a couple crucial winters; it also provides transport and brings in supplies.

The Military polices the area -- this is underplayed in the books, but it's there if you look.

The church is also providing clothing and books: this is also underplayed, but frequently "barrels" from the churches in the East are mentioned with food and gifts of toys and used clothing in them.

So yes, a pretty extensive safety net helps keep the settlers alive, and this includes the Ingalls family.

Kaleberg

The Homestead Act is what inspired Karl Marx to develop his ideas about land reform and having the workers own the means of production. It's not as if the frontier developed itself. It took the cavalry, a post office, massive steamship and railroad subsidies, educational spending, the agricultural extension service, surveying and a host of other things to build a nation. Even now, the government has to pump in all sorts of money to service the less heavily populated areas of the country. Alaska is a veritable welfare state with its travel allowances and cash assistance.

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