Sunday, August 17, 2014

Job Creation

While so many Americans are sitting on our tuchus, shouting on social media about employment issues and a poor economy, some think Congress should create jobs.  I'd like to share my observation of government created jobs, in the past few years.  I'd also like to suggest, perhaps they get off their tuchus and try a little job creation or independent entrepreneurialism.

Interstate 71 is now 49, between Kansas City and Joplin . .  signs, overpasses and interchanges in place.  Also is the complete elimination of "at grade crossings."  MoDot claims it will reduce the potential for accidents and increase economic opportunities.  Since this is "my stompin ground,"  I've watched the transition.  Please allow me to share . . .

Just as when the Interstate Highways were first built in the 50s and downtown businesses became a thing of the past, now many small towns and rural businesses are no longer easily accessible.  And forget about truck farmers with delicious produce, along the road, now . . . I'm sure some job creating Congressman received a lovely perk from a Monsanto lobbyist for that.  I'm truly livid, this is not an unbiased report!

 As for job creation, there was overpass construction and ramp construction.  For the most part, they're done now, so I don't know if those crews are working or not, but it appears that many of the blocked businesses did not survive the time of inaccessibility.  The signs are all changed, so that's done.  Even adding 2 tenths markers between mile markers . . . seriously, they did, but that's done.   In coming home yesterday, I saw countless local businesses, just off the highway, now shuttered.  I can't say that I saw any new businesses, not even another convenience store . . . but I saw something that made me so ashamed.  I saw, first hand, the way this country uses politics to mistreat hard working, dedicated people.  I don't have permission to use names, so I won't, but I will share something that causes me to weep in anger as I write it.  I rarely get so angry I cry . . .

I stopped at a place I've been patronizing for years.  In the past decade I've had the privilege to hear about the lovely history of this family business, and of course kept up with current happenings.  It was always enjoyable to see the photos of the new babies, the graduates, the weddings . . . and of course there were sad times, too, but this couple had persevered and built a lasting business.  In 1945, he was a young strapping soldier returning from his service in WWII.  He came home, married his sweetheart, and planted produce.  He didn't wait for Congress to create a job for him, he was busy making a life for his wife and eventually a beautiful family.  He was a blessed to marry a young and vibrant Proverbs 31 woman.  They raised farm fresh veggies and harvested beautiful fruit from trees they planted.

The photos of the business through the decades were curious.  One day she explained that their home had once been in the northbound lane of this 4 lane Interstate Highway.  Back in the first wave of job creation and building of interstates, their farm stood in the way of progress.  Apparently eminent domain is not new! As she gave this account with a smile on her face, I considered the fact we were standing on the west side the Interstate, but she never mentioned the rest of their farm or what amount of their hard work and flourishing land had been destroyed and lay buried under four lanes of concrete.

In the years I knew this family and greatly admired their fortitude, I never heard them complain.  As I watched the once strapping young soldier bravely face the enemy of cancer, still there were no complaints.  Even in his death, that beautiful little lady spoke of how grateful she was for the years they'd shared.  She had a spunky side and made some cute grandma comments on occasion, but never mean and she never even hinted at self pity.  One year I walked in with my broken arm bandaged and she shared the time she'd had a similar injury.  As we joked about the true unspoken inconveniences of a broken arm, we both laughed.

I bought the most beautiful delicious peaches I've ever eaten from their orchard and she always offered a bargain rate for her canning tomatoes.  "Imperfect" produce and ice sold after hours on the honor's system.  They carried my cookbooks and my soaps.  In ten years there was only one time I ever heard that precious soul complain and that was last summer.  The "job created" highway construction came to an end about a year after she'd been widowed and the hideous results were obvious.  There was no longer a direct way to get to the market.  That precious little widow still weighing produce, with grandchildren helping, told me, "They've killed us."  She hung in there for the rest of that season and I was delighted to hear the sign was up this year.

I had an opportunity to be up that way the other day, but all day a horrible heaviness just wouldn't leave.  As I made the trek to the Orchard Market, noticing along the way so many of the family businesses were now shuttered, my heart grew even heavier.  When I got to the Market, using the newly constructed off ramp over a mile before the business even came into view, it was obvious, the life of this market had come to an end.  The business that had been started nearly 70 years ago that provided beautiful produce to countless customers and served as a welcoming little rest stop, was now dark and empty.  I couldn't fight back the tears.  "Job creation" gave a couple 100 people temporary jobs while destroying genuine livelihoods and established businesses.

When I finished chores that night, I tried to convince myself that she was probably just shortening her hours and maybe only open on week-ends.  I wanted to be in denial, but I couldn't.  I dialed the number and heard the recording, "The number you have dialed is no longer in service."

In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.  a Proverb of Holy Scripture


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