Refusal Of Work

Downton Abbey is not the only production out of Great Britain on TV these days. There is also a show called “Doc Martin” set in a poor coastal backwater named Portwenn. Unlike Downton, where the fascination revolves around the existence and reproduction of the grand estate with its hierarchy of class, Doc Martin is about the everyday interaction of, well, everyday people. The series centers on the extreme, strong willed Dr. Martin Ellingham who is both a source of amusement as well as security for the commoners of Portwenn. These resident individuals are filled with foibles, failures, eccentricities and, of course, maladies. The Doc is likewise, except he is a man of science with an unflinching faith in its accompanying economics of efficiency. The application of this economy through the use of reason enforced by a strong will guarantees a life of health, wealth, and happiness. Wrong. Though the Doc chastises the town’s people for their folly and ineptitude, his own myopic willfulness wreaks grief and strife within his very desire.

In the spirit of Downton Abbey, John, the son of a postal worker, eschewed taking up residence in the Bexley Governor’s Mansion as anticipated by the citizens of Ohio after his initial election. He rather willed to retain his everyday residence in Westerville. This effectively cost the State of Ohio double as the official mansion cannot just be boarded up like a foreclosure, but must continue to be maintained in toto, security and all. The residence in Westerville must be retrofitted, upgraded and continuously updated, maintained with additional security necessities. John defers, saying it wouldn’t feel right to manage the official household in Bexley. In the inimitable methodology of the now defunct Lehman Brothers (from which John made his livelihood) the Governator intends to use someone else’s money to exercise his will and have his way. In an excellent article for Gannett papers (Kasich: Find jobs for Ohio’s poor or lose funding, 2-8-15) Jessie Balmert and Chrissie Thompson report that “Kasich’s budget proposal unveiled Monday would combine $310 million from two existing federal programs to help young adults between ages 16 and 24 acquire jobs that will lift them out of poverty and reliance on social services. By mid-2016, the initiative would expand to Ohioans of any age. The changes would affect millions of Ohioans. Nearly 15 percent of the state’s population received food stamps in November alone, according to the most recent Ohio Department of Job and Family Services figures.” “That could be a challenge for counties that currently direct those funds to separate agencies. Those agencies would be responsible for a set of performance metrics to retain funding from the two federal programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or WIOA. “We will set metrics that will measure coordinated efforts. And if counties do not do this, and if they do not meet the metrics … we are going to take every dime of TANF money out of that county and give it to a county that wants to do it, or we will privatize those services, or we will take it at the state level,” Kasich said. “Because we are going to fix this system comprehensively. If you think local government officials were mad at me before, just wait till they get this news.”” For the sake of economic efficiency, John the Governator wants jobs currently going unfilled in Ohio to be imposed on those currently receiving public assistance for whatever reason. County’s not getting enough public assistance recipients into these jobs will lose, well, this very same public assistance funding. Balmert and Thompson write “Potts [Joel Potts, executive director of the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association] said he hopes the metrics include more nuance than simply finding someone a job that pays $13.30 an hour with benefits — what he estimates an Ohioan would need to leave the Medicaid rolls. Ohio doesn’t have enough of those jobs, he said. “I really wish the problem the state faced was having enough jobs that pay a living wage with benefits and connecting our clients with them. … If we’re going to put pressure on something, put pressure on the entire system. And if we’re going to measure something, measure the number of jobs that are being created that pay a living wage with benefits,” Potts said.” Raising the minimum wage in Ohio would appear to be a ready-made incentive to get folks off the dole and unto payrolls. This, however, is not in keeping with John the Governator’s born again of Lehman Brothers fundamentalist belief. Downton Abbey must be maintained, and reproduced. It becomes clear from the director’s words, along with the Governator’s economic science, that the “Jobs Creation”, upon which counties will be penalized for failing to achieve, are the low paying ones (since even by Karl Rove’s calculations, the math is not there). Fundamentally, John the Governator is telling the people of Ohio to take up the cross of low paying work, and receive state assistance, or receive even less of what little assistance is currently provided. Like the doctor of Portwenn, he belittles anyone not recognizing the economic science of his headstrong path to health, wealth and happiness. Where else could it possibly lie? The created TV character, Doc Martin, has a phobia to blood. The persona’s choice to continue work as a physician is indicative of his strong will to bear this awkward impediment. John, the postal worker’s son, has a phobia to being identified as the lord of the manor with its living in a mansion. To stay true to his self-defined person, he refuses to comply, necessitating the state accommodate his exceptional refusal. When it comes to low paying jobs, the people of Ohio are not as privileged to stay true to their own person and refuse, let alone be considered as persons in the first place (with individual foibles, failures, eccentricities and maladies). John, the postal worker’s son, is entitled to refuse the task of being Jeffrey Mansion’s Governor but the subjects of the manor have no entitlement to a refusal of work. Entitlement comes only to…


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