Underemployed does not mean underpaid; it means that your skill level is too high for the job. It also means that the skill matches the job, but the worker is part-time.
Too often we conflate these definitions with wages and benefits, and this is the trap set for us by state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon in her Nov. 28 commentary, “It’s time to stand up for underemployed workers.”
She wants us to believe that employer polices — low wages and short work weeks — are creating underemployment. Unfortunately, she’s misguided. Lack of jobs is the issue.
Mandating wages and work weeks is a political expedient that ignores the issue. The real solution is an expanding economy, job creation and workers with skills matching market demand.
This seems beyond the capability of our national leaders and therefore avoided by McClendon and her compatriots in Washington.
With all due respect to McClendon, the American work ethic is not “if you are willing to work, you can succeed.”
The promise of America has always been to provide the opportunity to succeed, never to guarantee success.
McClendon needs to focus on creating the opportunity, not on quick, popular patches that may garner votes but do nothing to solve the problem.