Valuing Humans Beings for Being Human

The number of unadjusted jobs reported for May was 144.592 million. The estimated adult population of the US is over 250 million. That is over 100 Million more people than jobs. There are not enough jobs for them all. That’s not my opinion or a political talking point. That is a fact. (http://unemploymentdata.com/charts/current-employment-data/)
 
Only 59.2% of American adults have a job. The labor-force participation rate, the real number of employed people (including those can’t work, don’t want to, or want to but have given up trying) fell to 62.4% last quarter. The highest it has been in my lifetime was 64.7 in April of 2001. Just that one month. (http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet)
 
There are not enough jobs for everyone. The promise of the industrial revolution was that there would not be enough work for everyone to do 40, even 30 hours a week. We’ve blown past that. Just as the cotton gin put people out of work, computers and robots continue to make human labor obsolete.
 
We currently place to much importance on how economically productive a person is; how much do they make; how much do they make their employer; how easily replaced are they. The fact is that we are all replaceable, eventually, if profit continues to be the biggest motivation. We need it not to be, or humanity will devalue itself out of existence.
 
There are two things we could do to address this:
Continue to value people by productivity, but give up technology. We could all be Amish, and use only the minimum tech needed to get along, while reserving the largest portion of labor for humans and animals, so that they retain their value; so that they retain their “pride”.
 
The other solution is to abandon the idea that human beings need to earn their value. Give up the idea that some people are worth more than others because they are capable of more on some level. We can start valuing humans just because we are humans. We can set up a standard of living that no one is allowed to fall below, and we can focus our resources on maintaining that basic level of humanity above individual profit and prestige. We tax people and, especially, corporations with money to support individuals without.
 
The gains of the second option are many. The few tests on such programs show that people are healthier, better educated, and (because they can do work they love rather than taking work for food and shelter) they are actually more productive. They know that they can innovate, create, and enjoy life and that they will have a place to sleep and steady meals, making it possible to choose to invent, start a business, or create art.
 
So, put me down as a supporter of some kind of minimum income/reverse income tax. I will let economists and sociologists sort out the details before I pick a plan, but it seems to me that we have a need to change how we value human beings, and that we need to address it soon. This, to me, is the more reasonable and optimistic answer. I will admit that the Amish seem to have something that works for them, though.
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Obligations and calling: decision point

I have had a strange life, so far. In most respects, I have been very lucky. I admit that, and I honor the people who have helped me get to where I am. Part of how I honor them is to keep trying to be my best, and to give my best to the world. The I Am UU ministry is part of me trying hard to give back to the world in a way that promotes the best in humanity.

Another way is that I try to return what favors I can. I give back to those who have given to me with glee and fervor, because I want to encourage the doing of good and reward those who do it.

I was adopted. I was days old when my parents claimed me, and I have only ever known one family, and it has always been a part of my life. It was not a perfect family. It isn’t one that I am now particularly proud of. I am sure that a lot of liberals raised in Texas have those feelings some times. Family still matters, as a part of who I am and how I got here, and family is an obligation that I cannot ignore.

To that end, I took on the care of my mother several years ago. She has cancer that she doesn’t wish to treat, and she has dementia at a very young age. At 67, she has the body and mind that her doctors compare to patients in their 80s. Being her caretaker has been hard, and at times rewarding. More over, her income being part of the household has allowed me to create the I Am UU project, staying at home to handle her appointments and help her with daily tasks as well as those of my kids.

My ability to care for her is now stretched to the breaking point. I will not be able to keep it up another full year, and we may not make it to the end of this one.

This is hard to admit, because I know that we cannot afford to put her in a facility that will be anywhere near as nice as the home we’ve worked to provide. I want her to have a quality of life, but it has come the point where I cannot provide that here, either.

That part is internal. It is something I will have to deal with. It is hard, but I need to admit that the time will come, soon, that I cannot do what she needs here at home, and I will have to trust skilled professionals to help her in her daily life. I want what every American wants for their family: one more Christmas (or relevant winter-time holiday). I don’t know if that is realistic.

Another serious hurdle is the financial burden that we will face when her income is removed from our household. We moved into the house and the neighborhood that we did because we needed room for my Mom. We love it here, now, and more over, moving would be a huge expense all at once. In order to pay the rent, I need an income to replace what we are loosing. More than just making up that income, finding a regular job will mean paying for daycare, as well as a few other expenses we have been able to avoid thanks to me being home, like not absolutely needing a second car so far.

I am facing a serious dilemma: I cannot continue to grow the I Am UU project that I have come to love, and will likely have to scale it back quite a bit if I have to find a regular job.  I will not be able to continue to give what I have come to think of as the best of me. I fight my demons now by knowing that what I am doing matters to a lot of people, and matters a great deal to some.

So, this is me, begging. Help me save my family AND the one accomplishment outside my family that I am truly proud of. Help me do the right thing for my mother without doing the wrong thing for myself. Help me find a way to support my ministry, or to find a paying gig with similar benefit to the world. I put this out there to the universe, because I need all the help I can get.

Faitify, an all UU crowd funding site, has launched, and I am hopeful that it will change the way that Unitarian Universalist think about funding, because the 1st report on GA from UU World clearly shows that we need to. Sadly, Faitify is set up for goal-oriented projects needing one large push to get started or to move to the next level.

I would love to have the relative security of people pledging small monthly gifts via Patreon, but will gladly accept gifts through Square Cash (sign up now and they’ll give you a dollar!). As the only designer on the I Am UU team so far, I also get some money from the purchases on Cafe Press, though it is a very small percentage (on purpose; I want people to have these things to wear). I want to keep this ministry going. I want to honor the trust that these thousands of people have given me by choosing to read, comment on, and share this content. I want to keep reaching people, because I know that I have helped people find Unitarian Universalism through this work, both as new visitors and as UUs who needed a push to deepen their connection. I need something like that to be proud of in my life.

30 Days of Gratitude: Nov. 23

Thank you to the folks at Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch for a fun, if frigid, day with the family.

30 Days of Gratitude: Nov. 22

I am grateful for an ex-wife who works with me so that I can spend time with my girls. It takes coordination, and it isn’t always (ever) as much time as I’d like, but I know that I am lucky that we don’t fight about it or compete, and I know that I am lucky for that.

30 Days of Gratitude: Nov. 15

I am grateful that my children all get along. They don’t fight often, and every so often, something really, incredibly sweet happens.

30 Days of Gratitude: Nov. 11

This afternoon, my fiance was offered a part-time job at a major university. She’ll be leaving a full-time, 8-5 job with full benefits that was an hour away, for evenings at a half time position here in town. It should make it easier to land a better job at the university when one comes open, and so today, I am thankful that we have the ability to hope, because that hope is what is offsetting a lot of change and a lot strangeness for the foreseeable future.

30 Days of Gratitude: Nov. 10

Today I want to say how grateful I am for my stepson. He’s a lazy pain in the butt most of the time, but he is the closest thing I may ever have to a traditional son of my own. Today we got to play some random board games, and it was really nice to share something fun with him. I know he’s got a good heart, and he shows random flashes of real brilliance. If he can learn to focus, and to pay better attention to the people around him, he’s going to be a good man. I just hope it takes him less time than it did me.