Cheech and Chong Need Not Apply

Charles Payne
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Posted: Apr 03, 2012 12:01 AM

Rollin' down the street smokin' endo sippin' on gin n juice
Laid back—with my mind on my money and my money on my mind
-Snoop Dog

One thing we talk about in this country is keeping it real, but it's the last thing we really want to do when it comes down to our own personal situations and circumstances. For instance, when President Obama says in speeches that people lost their homes, jobs, and dog (oops ... that's a country western song) through "no fault of your own" I want to scream. Come on! There are a lot of victims of the economy, but the fact is when businesses had to lay off 5% of the staff it was the top 5% of underperformers. People bought homes understanding the small print but counting the riches of the flip six months later. Some people simply thought they would be in a better place.

It's called accountability.

As the nation struggles to climb out of the abyss, many people will not be able to come along for the ride because they simply aren't prepared. Case in point, the Metro Transit System in Washington DC has a dilemma on its hands. They can't find enough qualified applicants for good paying jobs. The starting salary is $60,000 with an average of $69,000 with overtime. There should be a stampede, and indeed according to the Washington Times, there are applicants-—they just can't pass tests and other requirements. The test includes three-parts that focus on reading, behavior and customer-service.

Only one in four pass the test, and oddly, those with college degrees and strong work ethics have a documented inability to succeed within Metro. Say what??? Is this Bizzaro World, an episode from the Twilight Zone or just plain lunacy? But I get it, and its real, and nobody talks about this side effect from a nation that has a dumbed-down education system and fading respect for hard work and achievement. Just think of the hottest television shows these days. My goodness, could people look stupider? I don't see them all, but it appears there is a race to the bottom.

In the process, the minority is the educated or hard working person that didn't go to college but is inquisitive and ready to go beyond the call of duty. In many settings, especially heavy blue collar work environments, they are actually treated poorly. They are actually treated with disdain. Moreover, moving up the ladder has more to do with non-performance factors than true merit. Even with this backdrop, good paying jobs continue to go begging. Out of 1,000 applications only 30 become bona fide job candidates, and then only a few of those are actually hired. That means out of 1,000 applications at least 970 are rejected.

What does it say when we can't fill bus driver jobs in the nation's capital? Right now almost all the Metro's 3,000 bus and train operators are paid overtime. In fact 1 in 3 is making more than $10,000 in overtime and 1 in 10 more than $25,000. The numbers are astronomical (see table) in a period of widespread economic hardship.



Back to the question of why so many good to great paying jobs are going unfilled in this economic malaise. In addition to failing certain aspects of the test, many candidates are convicts or drug addicts. I don't get why so many people will not put down the weed and get a job. The thing is that it's easy to smoke weed, drop out of school and be a knucklehead when you are constantly being portrayed as a victim and program after program is designed to level the playing field. Those people that didn't smoke that endo or saved the gin and juice for the weekends while staying in school have unfair advantages, after all.

Let's keep it real, this is a serious issue and national tragedy.

The descending moral and ethical standards are the greatest risk to America ... a much greater threat than a would-be monarchy and bone-crushing debt. There are layers to this story I'm not even touching, but there are plenty of elephants in this room that we should hear their horns. Self-empowerment is the key, and it begins with accountability. One school of thought says create more programs and siphon more taxpayer dollars http://www.thegrio.com/politics/black-unemployment-three-things-washington-can-do-to-address-high-black-jobless-rate.php to help the unemployed, but I think the better answer is greater accountability.

There is a seismic shift in this nation that cannot be ignored. The Metro in Washington D.C. is looking for a few good men and women for great paying jobs. Interestingly, I often write and talk about the STEM job dilemma, which is where our economic power ultimately shifts from here to Asia, but a lack of people qualified to drive buses or fix escalators is truly alarming. This behavior is actually being enabled by leadership that seeks to sell weakness as a tool to enhance its own strength. If I had the Bully Pulpit, I would say put the damn weed down and pick up a book. Your excuses are your own. Yes, we will help—those that help themselves.

To Speak Audaciously

Yet feare not thou but speake audaciously.
William Shakespeare
Love's Labour's Lost

The word "audaciously" was originated by William Shakespeare and first appeared in Love's Labour's Lost. Of course it was just one of many words created by the Bard (not sure why so many of his caught on and not Don King's).

Here are just some words courtesy of Shakespeare that have great meaning on Wall Street.

> Accommodate
> Amazement
> Baseless
> Countless
> Critical
> Dishearten
> Dwindle
> Eventful
> Exposure
> Fitful
> Gnarled
> Laughable

You have to earn your riches and not expect some half baked Robin Hood act that isn't even designed to help in the first place. Why is President Obama so pissed at oil companies that are creating jobs in America? That $4.0 billion he keeps harping on is a drop in the bucket but earned by virtue of the fact oil and fossil fuel companies are creating jobs in America. Check out North Dakota. Check out Oklahoma. Check out Texas. Check out Pennsylvania.

After checking those places out, check out Detroit that we keep hearing is back. A deal is in the works to avoid a transfer of city hall to the state in part because of the threat of violence. Halftime in America, I think not. Its sounds more like scenes from Gangs of New York.

In the meantime, here is the real information on that money taxpayers are "handing out" to oil companies. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=164979,00.html

I just can't believe the time consumed on this $4.0 billion issue and insistence on pouring so much money into so called clean energy. If the argument is more drilling will not help in the near term, then how about something that will never work. There wasn't any talk about natural gas, so I guess we are looking at wind-powered cars.