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Be Proud, Be Unique, Be American: Work to Death for Minimum Wage

February 13th, 2005

So now, apparently, we should take great pride in the fact that Americans must work three jobs just to keep above the poverty line. Since Bush’s McJob Society has so many working not just for a minimum wage, but for a minimum wage that he’s against increasing though it has the lowest buying power in many decades, we should all be so lucky to have three whole jobs to work at. One can only suppose that in Bush’s tiny little mind he was thinking, “Wow! Isn’t this such a great country that there are so many jobs that everyone can have three of them!”

Here’s what I’m talking about: Bush having a dialog with a single mother of three in her late fifties with a mentally challenged child:

THE PRESIDENT: …There’s a certain comfort to know that the promises made will be kept by the government.


THE PRESIDENT: And so thank you for asking that. You don’t have to worry.

MS. MORNIN: That’s good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

MS. MORNIN: Not much. Not much.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, hopefully, this will help you get you sleep to know that when we talk about Social Security, nothing changes.

MS. MORNIN: Okay, thank you.

Uniquely American? What is this idiot thinking? It’s supposed to be a good thing? How about having one job that pays well enough for her to live on without having to work eighty hours a week? And the audience applauds this? I haven’t seen such a mindlessly follow-along audience since the one that applauded Dan Quayle for spelling “potato” with an “e.”

Not to mention the fact that Bush’s plan for social security would take money away from the system when this woman will be retiring, so for the government–with Bush long gone by then–to keep the promises he’s making, it’ll have to go trillions of dollars more into debt. And since that would cripple the economy, the plain fact is that, no matter what lies Bush spouts today, the government of the future will not keep the phony-baloney promises he is making right and left. They will be forced to cut benefits as well as raise taxes.

In the meantime, there’s a poll out that shows that fully two-thirds of all Americans think that it is a better idea to eliminate the salary cap on payroll taxes than to dive into privatization–and that’s after Bush’s constant push for his plan, and very little mention of the cap elimination option in the media, which makes the numbers even more significant.

The only problem: it involves taxing rich people, something which just wouldn’t be fair. It is doubtful that Dubya could at all make himself put such a horrible onus on those poor rich folk who are having such a hard time getting by. After all, some of those really rich people don’t have any jobs at all! Not like the lucky woman at the rally who has three! Obviously the poor and middle class, being endowed with so many jobs each, are much better equipped to pay for all of this!

I dunno. Maybe poor old George is confused by that liberal media, by folks like Brit Hume over at that left-leaning Fox News Network. Hume pointed out recently that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the creator of Social Security himself, foretold the privatization of the system, saying that private savings accounts should supplant the government accounts. Which was all BS, of course, Roosevelt never said that. He said that private accounts should accompany the government ones, and he said that one of three aspects of the initial system (the one in which retirees who were not able to pay into the system before it started got payments anyway) should be supplanted by accounts paid for. Fortunately, the good folks at Media Matters caught this one and it has thus be debunked–but not before a lot of idiot reporters simply regurgitated Hume’s fake claim as fact without checking into it.

Not convinced Hume was lying? Here’s the FDR quote:

In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles: First, non-contributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps thirty years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.

There were three different aspects of social security: (1) pensions for those who hadn’t paid in because the system was new (“old-age pension plan”); (2) the compulsory system we know today (“self-supporting plan”); and (3) the voluntary plan. You can see that FDR clearly defined the “self-supporting” plans to be the compulsory ones, not the voluntary ones, and that the compulsory system replace the temporary “old-age pension” system. However, Hume reported:

In a written statement to Congress in 1935, Roosevelt said that any Social Security plans should include, quote, “Voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age,” adding that government funding, quote, “ought to ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.

Note that Hume did not just misquote FDR, but he deliberately misquoted him–carefully removing words and connecting the out-of-context segments so that they appear to say something that they are not. He was trying to make it seem like the “self-supporting” plans were the same as the “voluntary” accounts, and that FDR proposed that the voluntary accounts replace the compulsory system, not the old-age pension system. Al Franken has it all parsed out here, but the bottom line is that Hume clearly displayed intent to deceive his listeners (and, as it happened, others in the media). This is not an error, it is a lie, a fully intended distortion, by a “journalist.”

So will Fox fire Hume for doing something other journalists are usually fired for? Yeah, right. It is more plausible to figure that Fox encouraged Hume to do what he did. In the meantime, millions of Americans will hear Hume’s lie, but not the fact that it was a lie (Fox probably will never air that fact), and people will be more and more persuaded to accept Bush’s kamikaze retirement plan. The question is, can Bush and his compadres in the media shovel enough bullshit to cover up the even worse stench of his plan underneath, so that eventually enough Americans will still vote for Republicans despite their having voted for it? Despite past demonstrations of herdlike idiocy, I hold out hope for the ability of the people to see what a steaming pile Bush dogma this is. Stay tuned.

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