October 14, 2004
You are about to read, my friends, why I could never possibly be elected if I were ever to decide to run for office.
Last night Bob Schieffer asked the candidates what they would tell to an individual who had lost his job to some worker overseas who would work for a fraction of the wages he was earning. Bush gave a mealy-mouthed response, and Kerry ignored the question altogether. Here is what I would have said ... and here is why I would never be elected:
"First of all, Bob, I would tell them that it is not their job. The job belongs to the employer, not the employee. You have the job skills. The employer has the jobs. If the employer can make a profit by purchasing your job skills to perform his job then you get a paycheck. If your job skills cost the employer too much, or if your job skills don't meet the employer's needs, then you don't get a paycheck. If you fail to develop your job skills, you run the risk of not having a paycheck. If your job skills don't match the employer's needs, you don't get a paycheck. If you charge too much for your job skills, you won't get hired. You have no right to a job. You do have a right to be left alone by government and your fellow citizens to develop your own God-given talents in such a way that employers will seek you out. You also have a right to ignore educational opportunities and to develop a slovenly work ethic so that employers will shun you. You make your choices, and you live with the consequences of your decisions. I would tell that person that any American with desirable job skills and a good worth ethic, properly priced, would have to hide under his bed to avoid getting a good job. If you believe in the year 2004 that you can build a sound career as a textile plant worker in South Carolina then you are living a lie, and that delusion will soon catch up to you. You need to understand that you are a free and sovereign individual. You don't belong to the government, and It's not the government's responsibility to provide you with a job. It's the government's job to clear the way for you to exercise your free choices, develop your skills, hone your work ethic, and contract with an employer eager to hire someone like you. Past that, you're on your own, and that's life in a free society."
And then there was the question about raising the minimum wage. That's another one you don't want to ask me.
"Look, Bob. Wages are something to be negotiated between the employer and the employee. It is not the job of government to set wages for private sector employees. Our Constitution specifically states that the government is not to alter the terms of a contract between individuals. The matter of wages paid for services rendered is something to be resolved in negotiations between the employer and employee and then expressed in the terms of a contract between the parties. The government has no role here. And while I'm addressing this, let's talk about the people who are actually earning the minimum wage. Most of these people are teenagers working in entry-level jobs. They're developing job skills and will only spend a minimum amount of time at the minimum wage. But what about that small number of people who are trying to raise a family on minimum wage. My opponent won't say this. It's harsh, but it's the truth. If you have done such a pathetic job of developing job skills and a work ethic that you cannot earn more than the minimum wage, then you have no business having children. We have far too many people in this country who have children that they know full well they cannot afford to raise. The answer to this problem is not to force employers to pay them more than they are worth. The answer is to educate people as to the cost of properly raising a child, and to encourage them to make sure they can pay the bills before they make the decision to have a baby."
Oh yeah ... that's going to get me a lot of votes. I think I'll just keep doing a talk show.
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