Thursday, August 4, 2011

Useless

Nothing I do works. Recently, I had a routine inspection by my landlords' agents. It's the first I've ever had, so I was quite anxious. I cleaned the house very thoroughly and bullied the kids for days not to mess it up. So the inspection happened and it was just some guy, no big deal.

Then at the weekend, on short notice, the landlords themselves came round and fixed a couple of things. They were quite friendly and didn't say anything about the house, except to ignore, as they have done previously, anything I said about what needed to be fixed.

So today I get a snotty letter from the agents, saying blah blah, the house wasn't clean, hire cleaners if you can't keep it up, if it isn't clean it might get damaged blah blah.

I might just as well not have bothered cleaning it in the first place. Nothing I do is ever good enough for anyone. It's like somehow everyone decided I must meet higher standards than anyone else for reasons that are entirely obscure to me.

I have been feeling very down. I know I need to restart the tryptophan because I dropped it when I was feeling well and now I can see the signs that things are not right with me. I think I am overinterpreting, which is a bad sign. I do this by taking small bad things and assuming they are symptoms of a bigger bad, and somewhat overreacting to the bad that I perceive but isn't necessarily there.

Not that bad isn't there. I had yet another job thing I didn't get for really bad reasons. I had to do an editing test and it was way too arbitrary. You could not tell whether someone was a good or bad editor by using it because it involved getting close to the hirer's idea of right, rather than what is objectively right. Clearly I didn't do that well enough and ended up on a reserve list, which is no use to me.

It really sucks because I am truly an excellent editor and I haven't really met that many better. I am not very good at editing but that's a different story: it just didn't make sense to choose it as a profession when I can't focus and get easily distracted.

At least they wrote back to me. Nothing makes me sadder than people I have worked for for years not even bothering to reply to my emails or people who sound positive about jobs who never write to me or reply to my emails either.

I am sick of being insignificant.

I have to go to my "job provider" or whatever the fuck they call it next week, to take part in an "intensive activity". It won't get me a job, obviously. It's not intended to. It's just a way for the government to look like it cares whether I have a job without actually doing anything to create jobs. I feel like saying to them, look, this is a waste of your and my time. I am not going to get a menial job because no one would hire me for it. I'm clearly an intellectual type who would get bored stacking shelves so what's the point of that? I will get a job doing what I do eventually, probably. Nothing the "job provider" does will make that happen any sooner because they have no more idea how I can get employed than I do.

Maybe I will discuss with them the concept of NAIRU, which the Australian government has as an article of faith. This is the notion that if unemployment falls below a certain figure, inflation will inevitably rise. Briefly, the idea is that if labour is tight, workers can bargain their wages up, which creates inflation (it's certainly true that wage rises can cause inflation but the relationship is not strictly causal). So the government purposely keeps 5% of the population out of work. In fact, it describes 5% unemployment as full employment. (It isn't. Full employment is about 2% unemployment: that 2% is between jobs, purposely out of work, whatever (frictional unemployment for those who like to use the jargon).) Indeed, 5% unemployment is not even the full picture. Another 7% have less work than they want (are underemployed) and some percentage of the workforce (possibly a fairly high percentage) is not even looking for work because prospects are poor (we'd include in this group mothers who have not returned to work, graduates who volunteer or intern because they can't straight away find work, others who defer entry to the workplace for various reasons). Possibly as much as 20% of the population who would like more work cannot get it. This is not an economy at capacity!

Given that the government purposely keeps people out of work, why does it punish those who can't get a job? Well, there are obvious reasons, such as that it can't actually admit it runs the economy below capacity or that its aim is not full employment at all, because that would anger the plebs. It can't admit that NAIRU is bullshit because while it may not discipline inflation, it has certainly helped slow gains in real wages, so the increased productivity Australia, like other Western nations, has seen in recent decades has all been captured by the top end of town. Probably more importantly, there are many conservative voters who because they have personally never suffered much misfortune in life, and have a steady job, believe that everyone out of work is lazy or stupid and deserving of punishment. They are terrified of others' getting something for nothing. They are not aware that their taxes do not fund anything because it is not in the government's interests for them to know that for various reasons.

The solutions are simple. The government should offer work to anyone who wants it at a decent wage. It should incentivise employers rather than "job providers" and it should stop punishing people who genuinely want to work but cannot, who are the overwhelming majority of jobseekers in any economy. There just aren't that many people who would rather be given the very small amount of money you can get here, and those who are are not all that economically useful anyway, so never mind.

Of course, a farsighted government would simply do what I urge: abolish the tax-free allowance and give everyone a citizen's allowance. I'll quickly outline a couple of reasons this is not as immoral or poisonous to conservatives as it looks. First, the government is the issuer of currency. It's more democratic for it to issue the same amount to every citizen and allow them to do with it what they want than it is to use it in other stimulative ways. It's effectively what it does with a tax-free allowance in any case. Second, even if it was the case that taxes pay for welfare, it would be better for the taxpayer not to have to fund a huge, unwieldy welfare infrastructure. I mean, why not just abolish Centrelink and "job providers" and give me the money without bothering with it? I need the money, after all. Society has an obligation to provide me with it because we have structured ourselves in a way that leaves some of us requiring support. Simply sending an EFT to anyone on the electoral roll, or an equivalent register, is much more elegant. Then the government can forget having to means test people, having to have an elaborate transfer mechanism to try to make going back to work equitable (in my system they just tax from the first dollar--or in fact, at present, do not tax at all).

But none of that is possible. Instead, I have to submit to being humiliated by Centrelink and my "job provider" so that I can get just enough money to pay my rent to the greedy bastards who own my house. You will never convince me that there is much benefit to a world that has people with several houses and people with none. Any benefit you can assume could be created in a different, more equitable way.

***

There must be an upside, right? Well, I have a girlfriend who I love but. I know, it seems like there's always a but. The but in this case is that she is pretty sharply critical of me quite often, sometimes in quite hurtful ways, and even if some of it, or all of it, is true, it's never anything I can do anything about, just like it was with Bella. I mean, I'm just who I am. I don't see what else I can be without making life an enormous trial. So some days I just feel she puts up with me because she thinks I am or would be a good stepdad to her boys (which is lol, because I'm a terrible father, but obviously a willingness to bully small children into doing what you want them to do is easy to mistake for having a clue). She has just started a job too (which is great, I think it's super positive for her) but now if she moves in with me, I just look like and feel like a sponger. I mean, there's probably nothing wrong with someone who loves you providing for you, and certainly I've done it and would do it without a second thought, but it weighs heavily on me.

I think I have just reached the point where women have too often told me they loved me and then treated me without any sign of love. You can't love me and never talk to me. You can't love me and split up with me because I don't worship Jesus. You can't love me and spend all the time you spend with me trying to mindfuck me.

Some days, most days, I simply do not believe I am loveable at all. How would it even be possible? I do not exist. I am just layers of shit upon shit upon a core of intractable rage. Or I fear that I am. I fear that if I was able to peel away the shit, I would be left only with hatred and spite. I know that the rest of you all think the shit is the best part of you, but you just don't see clearly enough that it's just shit you accreted.

Some days, I think differently from that, but this isn't one of those days. And I was sure that I had revealed something different but the person or people I thought I had revealed it to did not agree. How can I argue with the judgement of others when I am not sure what I am really revealing? If you offer yourself to be judged, you cannot complain when they return the judgement: guilty of being just shit all the way through.

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