The Economic Policy Institute shared some depressing news last month: About 11.9 million Americans who are unemployed as a result of Donald Trump's plague “have no hope of returning to their old jobs." That's around 7.2 percent of the workforce. Another 5.7 million workers expect to get called back to work, but they're just kidding themselves. This comes out to a permanent unemployment rate of roughly 11 percent, which hits Black and brown workers, especially women, the hardest. Young people are also fucked.

But all hope isn't lost. Donald Trump's got his best people on the job, and by “best" we mean his useless, sentient sponge cake daughter, Ivanka. She's pushing the White House's “Find Something New" jobs initiative, because unemployed Americans are all brides on their wedding day: The “old" was the job we lost. We've maxed out our credit cards, so we've got borrowed covered, and our faces will turn blue after we've stopped breathing thanks to COVID-19.

From the Associated Press:

A new White House-backed ad campaign aims to encourage people who are unemployed or unhappy in their jobs or careers to "find something new." [...]

The initiative was swiftly criticized on social media, with some suggesting the effort is insensitive during a pandemic and the widespread unemployment it has caused. Others criticized the involvement of Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump's daughter and White House adviser.

Look, no one wants to see Ivanka Trump's dumb ass during a crisis. Ivanka Trump is only fit for primetime when unemployment is no higher than five percent and Americans can enjoy live theatre again. “Find Something New" is fine advice from Ivanka Trump's marriage counselor but it's insultingly dismissive to people whose training and primary work experience are in fields that are now dormant.


This campaign is the brainchild of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which Ivanka Trump co-chairs with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who five months ago claimed it was “physically impossible" for the United States to experience a recession. He also predicted that COVID-19 would accelerate job growth in America after devastating China. So, he's someone you want to pay attention to on important matters.

Here's a real, actual quote from Trump that'll make you retch.

"There has never been a more critical time for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to be aware of the multiple pathways to career success and gain the vocational training and skills they need to fill jobs in a changing economy," said Ivanka Trump, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

Lady, the economy isn't “changing." It's collapsing around us. We're all for job training, but this “Find Something New" ad is concentrated bullshit.

It's hard to change careers even in a robust economy. This idea that a former bartender or personal trainer whose companies folded can go become a welder or something is a stretch. I've lived in Seattle, so I'm a little skeptical about the Black guy who took an “online course" and now works as a tech consultant.

The coronavirus has affected every industry to a degree. Companies without layoffs have frozen hiring, and the few industries that are thriving benefit from a buyer's market. Job training is great. We're all for it, but what we need is enhanced unemployment benefits for a minimum of two years while the workforce resets. It's hard to focus on your “online courses" if you're worried about paying rent.

The “Find Something New" website is a sick joke. You can take Cosmo-like quizzes to determine “which STEM are you" and self-assessment tests to create "a 360° vision of yourself and your abilities." Apple and IBM are listed as "supporting partners," but if you click the "read more" section, you're banished to the Phantom Zone "Learn to Code" page. That shit won't keep Sweet Jimmy from breaking your legs. You need a J-O-B. There's no guidance on how to apply for vocational training or how to pay for it. Ivanka Bluth's latest pet project is a crock, but that's hardly a shocker from a woman who has never struggled a day in her life.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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