Arlen Specter and Laying Off the Old

19 May

The USA will be a better place without the likes of Arlen Specter in the Senate. He was the poster codger for a man of few principles, willing to do whatever it took to stay in a position of power, whether it was support George W. Bush when he knew the man was wrong, or change political parties when he thought he’d lose an election.

Good riddance.

Another problem I had with Specter: he was old. At 80, he was too old. Now, don’t get all AARPy on me and point to the outliers of civilization like Grandma Moses or Bertrand Russell and what brilliant people they were in their dotage. Politics is way different. Would you elect an 80-year old to the White House? Of course not.

Too often tenure means corruption and incompetence. Look at the Teamsters. The old guard has just managed oust union reformers by manipulation. Again. And in a seniority-based system for school teachers in Cleveland, the most innovative and younger instructors are getting the boot, while the older ones keep their jobs.

When I was laid off by Computerworld in 2008 it was the sixth or seventh reduction in force in the company since 2001. The magazine has had a couple since then. It’s no secret that publishing is suffering these days and eventually my number was bound to come up. Nonetheless, the company went to great lengths to show me that there was no agism in their choosing me to go. They even provided me with a chart of those being let go by age to show it ran the gamut from 20-year olds to 50-year olds.

I know that it is difficult for older workers to get new jobs. And not just theoretically. Personally. That doesn’t mean that older folks like me have a right to keep the jobs they have at the expense of other workers, who may or may not be younger, simply because they’ve had the job longer.

The problem in our society is that we have no decent safety net for the unemployed of all ages. Corrupt politicians like Specter pour on health and retirement benefits for themselves while voting down benefits for down-on-their-luck citizens. If we had a more equitable society we would not worry about the specific problems of different demographic groups. But because of a political system that favors powerful, long-tenured politicians in both parties we are unlikely to see that more equitable society.

So I say, good riddance to Arlen Specter. I hope more of your old cronies get the boot come November.

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3 Responses to “Arlen Specter and Laying Off the Old”

  1. Lela Blackwell May 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    Wow I’m actually the only reply to this incredible read!

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  1. Tweets that mention Arlen Specter and Laying Off the Old « Croisan Views -- Topsy.com - May 19, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Everett Hall. Mark Everett Hall said: Arlen Specter and Laying Off the Old http://bit.ly/9eBJ8L […]

  2. Everything Is Vanity » Blog Archive » Arlen Specter and Laying Off the Old Croisan Views - May 19, 2010

    […] The USA will be a better place without the likes of Arlen Specter in the Senate. He was the poster codger for a man of few principles, willing to do whatever it took to stay in a position of power, whether it was support George W. Bush …This Blog […]

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