A Ghostly Story
October 31, 2017
Here’s a scary thought for Halloween.
Imagine you’re a well-paid Washington reporter covering, say, the environment and energy beat. You’ve reported on the colossal loss of coal jobs in Appalachia – more than 60,000 since 2010 [MISI consultants, Oct. 26] – and you wrote sympathetically about federal job training programs promised for those “hard working miners.”
Now imagine your publisher sadly informs you you’re fired as a cost cutting measure – Internet journalism makes print redundant and your blogs aren’t paying the rent.
But, true to the progressive agenda, he won’t turn his back on your valued service. Because you’re a “hard working” journo — he’s going to provide you with job replacement help.
You accept his generosity, go to the out-placement office, and learn there is life after big time journalism after all.
It’s just not in the money — and it will be lived in a different neighborhood – with a down-sized lifestyle.
Here’s what’s on offer …
At Instagram’s new Fairfax tech center there’s an opening for a “Director of Applied Machine Learning.” Alas, as a journo you lack the skills.
More likely you can become a docent in a new media museum scheduled to replace the failing Newseum. Maybe recounting for high school seniors your colorful past as a reporter.
You can become a tourist guide, driving one of those scenic buses — pointing out your former employer’s building as you inch through honking traffic, relating to families from Terra Haute the Woodward & Bernstein saga … again and again.
You’ll be forced to move your family of course – not closer to these jobs, but farther from them, to more “affordable” areas. But think of the new friends you can meet on your 90-minute commute.
Or you can stay in the metro scrum and downsize. Sell the Falls Church or Cleveland Park bungalow and buy a flat for almost as much in edgier Trinidad for example. Two bedrooms can work with a little cooperation from the kids. And you won’t need two cars; can’t afford them anyway.
You’ll need to brace the family carefully for the fiscal “adjustment” in the household budget. Drop the gym membership; working out is a pain anyway. Your spouse could take that seasonable job at Nordstrom, your daughter’s braces can wait another year and maybe your eldest can work after high school – paying rent at home before college.
This was just a thought experiment – contrived fear, like Halloween. But it was scary reality for the more than 60,000 men and women who lost their coal-supported jobs in Appalachia between 2011-2015. MISI consultants reported the following ghoulish statistics from its Oct. 26 report:
- Without the loss of these jobs, all direct or supported by coal, West Virginia’s 2015 unemployment rate would have been <3%, not 6.8%.
- In Belmont, Ohio, jobless miners who averaged $1,600/week settled for service jobs paying an average of $575/week.
- Miners in Eastern Kentucky lost jobs paying almost $75,000 annually with good benefits, then looked for jobs paying the region’s average for all-private employment of about $37,000.
Happy Halloween from Count on Coal.
- On October 31, 2017