Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

Flip Burgers Proudly

by Paul Jacob

Is there something wrong with the job of flipping burgers?

Pundits sometimes belittle certain kinds of job growth. For example, they say that all the good jobs, like high-paying manufacturing jobs, are fading away. And eventually we'll all end up serving hamburgers to each other.

Yet I still see a very wealthy country in which most able-bodied adults have little trouble getting three squares, shoes, cars, cheap and powerful electronic gadgetry, and all manner of entertainment. And even if some folks overseas are answering phones or doing computer programming for some U.S. firms, such “outsourcing” hasn’t resulted in a mass transfer of American wealth and capital to India or Mexico. Just lower costs for U.S. firms and their customers. Trade benefits all the partners in trade.

Our economy has evolved, yes. Sometimes painfully. But Americans are still very well off, still enjoy many opportunities. And plenty of cheap hamburgers.

Who flips them? Sometimes retirees looking to supplement income. Usually kids. I go to McDonald’s, I see kids behind the counter. Is this a bad thing? That they're starting out behind a counter instead of as CEO of General Motors?

You can bring diligence, honesty, pride in your work to any job. As author Charles Sykes puts it, “Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it ‘opportunity.’”

Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Sam Adams Alliance. Their website can be visited at www.samadamsalliance.org.