Not Livin’ Large in Ohio, Folks Can’t Even Afford Meat?


By: Warner Todd Huston

That’s it. NPR has declared Ohio a disaster area. Things are so bad. NPR gravely warns, that folks in the Buckeye state can’t even afford to buy meat for their dinner tables anymore. It’s the end of civilization as we know it. Doom and gloom. Oh the humanity. It’s the end of the world as we know it… at least for one Ohio family that NPR found to act as stand in for the rest of the state. To NPR all of Ohio is the Nunez family. And what is NPR’ solution? Government aid, of course.

In a segment of All Things Considered (well, all things but common sense, anyway), NPR gives us Gloria Nunez whose family, we are told, was “built on cars.” NPR gives us all sorts of sobbing, rending of clothes, wearing of sackcloth and gnashing of teeth for the Nunez’, of course. But even NPR can’t hide some of the glaring problems that Gloria and her family have surely brought upon themselves.

In fact, her story sounds like the scene in the old Blues Brothers movie where John Belushi is on his knees pleading with Carrie Fischer to forgive him. There was a flood, he whined, locusts came, it was the end of the world, it REALLY wasn’t his fault, he swore to God. Similarly we get the tale that Gloria Nunez’ car broke down, she can’t find a job, she had a car accident that left her “depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job.” She is now somehow forced to live on a “$637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps.” Naturally, none of it is her fault. All the seeds for the common welfare tale are there.

‘I Just Can’t Get A Job’

Nunez, 40, has never worked and has no high school degree. She says a car accident 17 years ago left her depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job. Instead, she and her daughter, Angelica Hernandez, survive on a $637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps.

Hernandez received her high school diploma and has had several jobs in recent years. But now, because fewer restaurants and stores are hiring, she says she finds it hard to find a job. Even if she could, she says it’s particularly hard to imagine how she’ll keep it. She says she needs someone to give her a lift just to get to an interview. And with gas prices so high, she’s not sure she could afford to pay someone to drive her to work every day.

There are all sorts of extended family members mentioned in this little tale of woe. Greandmothers, sisters, daughters. But one glaring absence might dawn on the reader. No where in the story is a mention of a Mr. Nunez living with the family and trying to provide for them. No where do we see contemporaneously included in this tale a Father or husband.

There is one tiny little thing tucked into this story, though, that might escape notice. At least it is something that seems to have escaped the notice of too many Americans who sit about expecting some magical employment fairy to float down out of the sky and hand them a $50,000 dollar a year job and who, while they wait, sponge off the rest of us with state aid and Federal benefits.

The only employer within walking distance is a ThyssenKrupp factory that makes diesel engine parts. That facility, which employs 400 people, is shutting down and moving to Illinois next year.

The ThyssenKrupp factory is moving to greener pastures, to greater opportunity, to a better, more lucrative environment.

One must wonder why don’t the Nunez.’ In fact, why aren’t a large number of Americans moving to where the jobs are?

There have been many, many periods in American history when large numbers of Americans have uprooted themselves and moved to where there was a better opportunity to make their mark in life. “Go west young man” was once a rallying cry for an American diaspora. The wagon trains rolled by the thousands at a time when such travel often resulted in death. The dust bowl years saw many of those living in the near west moving to California, the land of milk and honey. After the turn of the century, hundreds of thousands moved from the south to the north when work became plentiful there — especially for America’s southern black population. Even recently, the south began to fill back up as work became more plentiful there. And there were many more eras of internal shifts in population that I didn’t mention here. They all moved when a certain section of the country became stagnant and another offered opportunity.

Today it is the west that once again needs great numbers of Americans to move there and fill jobs. Western states are finding themselves with jobs, but no one to fill them.

So, why aren’t large numbers of Americans moving west? Because they’ve been conditioned to imagine that if they can’t easily find a job where they are at, their government will hand them everything for “free.” They’ve become used to imagining that the state should take care of them instead of imagining that they are responsible for themselves.

These kinds of reports without context or any greater exploration of the situation is the sort of “journalism” that helps drive down morale for America for little real gain. Of course, for NPR the main point is to help achieve bad times, not merely report on them. NPR would rather see Americans lounge about their homes feeling desperate and turning to government for succor. NPR wants to breed dependency, not self-reliance.

And dependency is what we see in Gloria Nunez. She is filled with all sorts of excuses of why her life is so darn hard. The world is out to get her, it appears. But there are jobs a plenty out there. Only, they take some effort on the part of the seeker. The magical employment fairy is going to float down and wave her magic jobs wand neither on Gloria Nunez nor anyone like her.

Americans have many times taken their own lives in their own hands and set out to find a better life. Now days, however, the Gloria Nunez’ of the world seem to imagine that everyone else should come to their aid. America must become again that land of rugged individuals leaning forward into any ill wind that blows to forge ahead and succeed.

Government isn’t the solution. Someone should tell that to Gloria Nunez and NPR.

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