December 13, 2009

U.S. Workforce Disappearing At Alarming Rate

Economists Concerned They Will Be ‘Left Behind’

  After a careful review of BLS Employment Data, Outside The (Cardboard) Box analysts have determined that the U.S. workforce is shrinking at an inexplicable rate.  Available census data indicates that the U.S. population is still expanding. Under normal conditions this would lead to an increase in the available labor pool. However BLS data confirms that able-bodied, productive people are just ‘leaving the workforce’ in massive numbers and for no apparent reason. Said one concerned economist, “We’re still kashkaring the figures but it looks like it could be in the millions. We don’t know where they’ve gone or if they’re coming back. They’ve just disappeared without a trace!”

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   “And it’s not just people who are disappearing”, said an unnamed Detroit Law Enforcement official. “It happens overnight. One minute there’s a family living in a neighborhood; the kids are out playing in the yard. The next day we drive by and the house is empty; all of their possessions are gone and all of the copper piping has been ripped out of the walls. We sometimes find pets though. Only people under duress leave their pets…..(momentarily overcome, the Officer regains his composure)…. We know it’s a crime scene but we can’t prove a crime has been committed.” A tour of Detroit’s neighborhoods confirms the Officer’s assessment: block after block of vacant homes, empty streets and shuttered businesses.

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  Theories abound as to where these people have gone, either willingly or unwillingly, towards a better future or to a nefarious end. Tax officials witnessing dramatic drop-offs in revenue collection are investigating whether any of these cases involve individuals relocating to off-shore tax havens. “Frankly, we don’t care if they leave, but their money stays here” declared one highly placed individual. The drop-offs in revenue are staggering. Every state in the Union is seeing double-digit revenue declines as a result of the disappearances. A simple kashkari of the state numbers suggests that missing taxpayers could number in the tens of millions.

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   “We’re scanning likely locations for these missing people with our reconnaissance satellites” said a member of the Intelligence Community speaking on condition of anonymity. “There are only so many places on the planet where you could plop down 10 million people without the locals noticing and raising a ruckus.  We’re looking at Africa of course; Antarctica seems a long shot but we’re checking; and the Australian Outback is a solid candidate. After that though our list kind of dries up. At that point, if we haven’t found the missing workers, we’ll have to think more outside the, er, box as to other possibilities.”

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  And what might those ‘other possibilities’ be? Outside the (Cardboard) Box has assembled a diverse panel of national Thought Leaders to gain their insights into these troubling phenomena. We’ve summarized their collective thinking into a series of scenarios (in no particular order) for your consideration:

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  Spontaneous Combustion   –  A number of our Thought Leaders felt that a great many of the missing could be accounted for by spontaneous human combustion, whereby individuals suddenly & inexplicably burst into an all-consuming fire. In support of their theory they point to Detroit neighborhoods where numerous fires have occurred. “A quick kashkari indicated that this could account for as many as 5 million of the missing” said one. And as for the others? “It’s rather complex but we believe they cramped-up while swimming and were subsequently consumed whole by Great White Sharks, predominantly  post mortem.” Of great concern to these Thought Leaders is however that, if spontaneous combustion IS the primary cause of the decline, workforce numbers are unlikely to ever recover.

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   Rapture   –  Derived from careful analysis of Christian Tribulation Theory, Rapture is the pre-Tribulation phenomena whereby the Chosen are removed from Earth so that they may avoid the Apocalypse. They WILL return post-Tribulation with the Millennial Messiah however. While this theory gives hope that workforce numbers will eventually stabilize, a number of the faithful are distraught to not be already among the missing. “I’m an economist! “, exclaims one obviously upset Thought Leader. “I add about as much value to Society as a phrenologist. I just KNOW I’ve been Left Behind!” Another shrieked “Dude, I’m a banker! I’m totally F***ed! (Expletive deleted) I am SO looking at an eternity of agonizing torture and burning flesh!”

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  Alien Abduction   –  A recurring theme at Outside The (Cardboard) Box, our Thought Leaders were divided as to how an Alien Abduction scenario might play out, with half our Thought Leaders of the opinion that the Aliens are of evil, carnivorous intent.  The other half of our Thought Leaders feel that it’s more likely Aliens have merely invited our fellow citizens out for an Intergalactic cup of coffee.  In the former instance, the workforce is unlikely to recover and, in fact, may deteriorate further as the Aliens develop a decided preference for our sweet, sweet meat. More hopeful is the latter possibility whereby workforce numbers will be reinvigorated as the ‘coffee breaks’ are concluded. This reinfusion of workers will transpire over many decades, perhaps even centuries however, owing to the Theory of Relativity and its incumbent space/time distortion.

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  Atlantis  –  A popular scenario among our coastal Thought Leaders is that the missing labor force has gone on extended vacation to Atlantis. Not the tropical Bahamian resort of the same name (although Jerry Seinfeld IS performing there on Saturday January 23rd!). No, rather they’ve gone to the legendary island first mentioned in Plato’s dialogues Timaeus and Critias. This would readily explain the Intelligence Community’s inability to locate the missing labor, as Atlantis resides in a different Dimension from ours. While labor could eventually return from Atlantis, our Thought Leaders feel it unlikely that anyone would return given the reported Bacchanalian lifestyle said to exist in that enlightened & futuristic inter-dimensional paradise.

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   As we stated previously, Government data unequivocally informs us that millions (possibly tens of millions) of Americans have left the work force without a trace. It is nothing short of a National Disgrace that our Government Officials have yet to issue a single Amber Alert for them. These people need to be found and found quickly. With each passing hour, day and month, the likelihood that we’ll EVER find them and return them safely to the workforce diminishes. Something urgently needs to be done. Outside The (Cardboard) Box exhorts our readers to SPREAD THE WORD!

OTCB – We make it up, you decide!

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Enhance your vocabulary!

Word of the day:

kashkari: kash-kar-ee

           noun:  1. a calculating device undersuited for anything beyond simple

                         addition - typically a Blackberry;

                     2. a Wild-Assed Guess (see WAG)

                     3. slightly better than a cocktail napkin

           verb:   1. to pull a number out of one’s ass, typically using a Blackberry

                        calculator function;

                     2. to make a Wild-Assed Guess (see WAG)

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