Coal jobs aren’t coming back, but nobody tell the miners out in coal country — because even if you did, it’d apparently fall on deaf ears. A new report out of Reuters reveals that coal miners are turning down retraining efforts because they think Trump will bring their coal jobs back.
White America is very fond of its “lost cause” narrative, isn’t it?
Appalachia, in particular, has lost 33,500 coal mining jobs since 2011, and while there have been small gains in jobs this year — driven mostly by foreign markets — the production levels for coal remain the lowest since 1978.
According to Reuters, there are a number of reasons why coal miners aren’t signing up for retraining:
They say mining pays well; other industries are unfamiliar; and there’s no income during training and no guarantee of a job afterward.
As a late-term Gen-Xer/Millennial who has never had a chance to become familiar with a particular industry, has been through various training programs without any pay, and who knows what it’s like not to have a guaranteed job — welcome to the New Capitalism. Perhaps if they yanked their coal-filled heads out of their collective posteriors, they’ll understand why the rest of us despise this semi-feudal finance-based system.
I want to have sympathy for these folks. But this is like the idiot who is allergic to shellfish but continues to eat shellfish anyway because they think it makes them look impressive to their neighbors. After a while, I can’t have sympathy for you anymore. You’re doing this to yourself. And I can’t possibly be the only person who sees the hypocrisy in these folks expecting the government to give them a job they want while they tell the rest of us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, am I?
Coal isn’t coming back. Between cheap natural gas — coal miners can thank fracking for that, by the way — and automation, most of those coal jobs are gone for good.
What’s more, I don’t know why people would even want those jobs back. Who wants to learn their child died in a cave in or contracted black lung?
There comes a point when you have to start looking forward. And far too many American just don’t want to do that — perhaps because they realize, on some fundamental level, the fucked the future over so hard it looks profoundly scary compared to the false comfort of a past that’s little more than a collective lie.