And if your personal unemployment or health “savings account” runs out? Welcome to the Charles Dickens World of Mitt Romney | Street Jazz

And if your personal unemployment or health “savings account” runs out? Welcome to the Charles Dickens World of Mitt Romney


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“I think it would be a much better system to have folks have a personal account, if you will, where they’d build up over time an unemployment account. They’re able to draw from that, perhaps as being matched by the government, they’d draw from that.” - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, quoted in the Boston Globe, January 31, 2012

The Man Who Would Be King also feels that these “personal accounts” would provide an “incentive” for those enjoying the life of Riley to get off the public dole and start working again. Because, otherwise, well, they and their families would starve to death, I guess.

If you mention the name of Charles Dickens, there are those who can only dredge up the names “Scrooge,” “Marley,” and “Tiny Tim,” and finish it off with a merry, “God bless us, everyone!”

But they (not only if they have an interest in good writing, but also where this country may be heading) should check out his other works, including one of my favorites, Hard Times - For These Times, or simply Hard Times as many of us know it.

It reveals the brutal world of workhouses brought about by the Utilitarians, led by Jeremy Bentham and his former secretary, who was responsible for the Poor Law of 1834, which made workhouse life as inhumane as possible.

The way that Dickens saw the education of the young is dangerously close to what is happening today. Then, as now, business forces had a hand in the school curriculum, as a result of which students were emerging with technical skills (such as they were) but their imaginations were stunted.

Hard Times is pretty grim, and close to the world view promoted by Mitt Romney and his moneyed ilk.

How would your very own personalized unemployment savings account work? Well, like many savings accounts in the past that industry has offered employees, you’d put some money in, and they’d put some money in - usually matching what you are able to dredge up.

After paying rent.

After paying for food.

After paying utilities.

And after, of course, putting some money into your very own health savings account, which many on the Right are also so enamored of.

We may not know much about Chile (other than the fact that we have a record of interfering in their internal politics) but the name of the country has been bandied about in the past year or so by GOP presidential candidates who are really, really hoping that is the extent of your knowledge.

Yes, Chile introduced private unemployment accounts, though the country has not cut the social safety net entirely, something those who hold the “Why not follow Chile?” banner somehow neglect to tell the cheering audiences, clapping like Pavlov’s dogs.

And also, Xylophonic Reader, traditional government benefits kick in after the individual accounts have run out of money.

Odd, but no one even seems to mention that here.

No, here we have the philosophy of Utilitarian of Mitt Romney, who has been quoted as saying that extending unemployment benefits “discourages” people from looking for work.

Because there is nothing like seeing your children shrink inside their clothes from lack of food that would make someone find work.

We have been dealing with the philosophy for some time now that folks on the lower end of the economic ladder are there because they somehow deserve to be, that they have screwed up in their lives. No need to feel any empathy for them, is there?

But how do those folks at the bottom of the ladder - including that idiotically smiling young woman on the insurance commercial who is on a “Ramen noodle every night diet” build up either an unemployment savings account or a health savings account?

Or are they just acceptable losses?


On the Air with Jacob George

Afghanistan war veteran/protester Jacob George will be the guest on my show this week.

In May, George (who has served three tours of duty in Afghanistan) joined dozens of other veterans in Chicago when they returned their medals to the government during a protest outside the NATO meeting in Chicago. There were thousands of other protesters also in the city that day.

The interview will cover that protest, what led George to realize the war was wrong, and life in the military for others, including the reality of sexual assault on women in the military.

Show days and times:

Wednesday - 6pm
Friday - 6am/6pm

Fayetteville Public Access Television is shown on Channel 218 of the Cox Channel line-up in Fayetteville, and on Channel 99 of AT&T’s U-Verse, which reaches viewers from Bella Vista to Fort Smith.

Fayetteville Public Access TV can also be seen on line at:


Quote of the Day

Sleeping in a bed - it is, apparently, of immense importance. Against those who sleep, from choice or necessity, elsewhere society feels righteously hostile. It is not done. It is disorderly, anarchical. - Rose Macauley


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