IS THERE any depressing human situation in...


IS THERE any depressing human situation in which some spin artist can't find a silver lining? ("Skiers for a Nuclear Winter" comes to mind.)

A recent entry to this list is the American Management Association.

"Less job security, longer working hours and fewer promotions -- these are a few of the changes that make up what is commonly called 'the new employment relationship,' " reads an AMA report.

"The news for workers isn't all bad, however," the report adds. "At the heart of the partnership is recognition that employees are more valuable than ever, simply because each employee has to be more productive (our italics).

"When five people are asked to do the jobs of ten, or when two management layers do the work formerly done by four, each employee or layer becomes valuable," explains Edward L. Gubman, guest editor of the special report and an executive with Hewitt Associates, international benefits consultants.

But that doesn't necessarily mean added benefits for the extra ++ work, Mr. Gubman notes. "No longer can employers promise full health care coverage, lifetime employment and a secure retirement." Instead, employers can help employees take greater personal responsibility for their health, their careers and their retirement, the report suggests.

To which the overburdened working stiff can only offer the impassioned prayer, "Please God, don't make me any more valuable than I already am."

* * *

FRESHMAN Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, one of only two black Republicans in the House, "does not support affirmative action policies" and "uses his Christian faith to explain his opposition" to them, according to a news article in The Daily Oklahoman.

Still, he warned GOP leaders "to use caution" with the issue:

" 'Those minorities that are for strengthening families and growing their businesses, we want to be careful that we don't drive them away with [attacks on] affirmative action. . . I don't think 30-second sound bites is the arena to talk about affirmative action.' "

Some "may question how [Watts] could turn his back on policies designed to help him and other minorities." Watts "declined several times to answer a reporter's question on whether there was a need for such policies in the mid-1960s.

"He finally said:

" 'If the original intent was to balance the playing field, I think that is fine. However, it has become more than. . . economically bringing people in. It has become social engineering. You should not solve discrimination with discrimination. . .

" 'As a Christian, I do not think it is right for me. . . to design a system that would penalize you because you are white. I don't think it is right to penalize me because I am black. You can't do anything about how God made you.' "

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