PARIS -- Is there anything people can possibly do these days to disgust or unnerve themselves? Or is the only barrier to bad behavior massive societal shunning, the likes of which isn't noticed by those who are too engrossed with themselves to pay attention?
I'm asking this because it seemed that everywhere I looked recently, I was bombarded by stunning acts of shamelessness -- to the point where shamelessness arguably WAS the major trend in the news. Let's look at a few examples.
-- The "sequester": The U.S. Congress wants us to feel its pain as it considers cutting about two cents from each dollar of increased scheduled government spending, when doing so allows Congress to totally avoid doing what it really ought to: cut the other 98 cents. If a fat kid has a cake and I give him another entire cake, then take away 2 percent of the second cake, that kid won't complain. In fact, he'll get even fatter - just like this government will, all while crying starvation.
-- Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been all over the news for demanding that employees of the tech giant come into work. CEO Wilma Flintstone of 1200 B.C., am I right? Get with the George Jetson era, man! The kids all work from bed now because they can sleep with their iPhone under the pillow! They don't have to work more than, like, a half-hour a day when that's the equivalent of a week's work back in the "old days," right?
Either you're a salaried employee whose behind is wholly owned by a company that's entitled to call the shots, or you're a contractor who can work from anywhere but are contractually obligated to produce deliverables in exchange for the freedom to be anywhere you'd like to be, as long as you get the job done. You're not entitled to all the benefits and security of an employee while behaving like a contractor. Maybe those employees would be cool with only being paid based on what they actually produce? Or, alternatively, they could just get their behinds into the office and be grateful that they're generously employed.
-- As of this week, the Canadian federal government has written off $540 million in student-loan debt. Great. Why work three jobs to put yourself through college, or have to carefully assess the viability of an investment in your chosen education, when you can just ring up the charges and stick the single mother down the street with two kids and three jobs with the bill?