Every Teenager Should Be Required to Work a Grubby Job

Standard

TIME

There’s been a lot of talk about Wonder Bread bags since Joni Ernst’s State of the Union response. (Consensus among my colleagues, regardless of party, is that we wore them too, but over our socks and under our boots. Exterior bags must be an Iowa thing.) Less attention has been given to her part-time teenage job making biscuits at Hardee’s. Maybe that’s because everyone I know over forty, regardless of income, had a job like that. The most surprising thing was that Ernst tied her Hardee’s experience to modest income and humble beginnings. In college, I knew a debutante from Texas who had a real butler answer the door at her holiday party, but still got up every morning at four to make the salt rising bread in the student union bakery. Where I come from — meaning the distant past of the seventies — menial jobs were a…

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