By David Glenn Cox
Almost eighty years ago Franklin Roosevelt said, “We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics.” Forty years of the Republican state, low wages, low growth, cut spending and do away with bridge inspectors. You don’t need meat inspectors in chicken houses. What you don’t know won’t hurt you; I mean, why not trust the company? Shift the tax burden from corporate America to the working poor. And the wealth will trickle down in golden showers upon you until maybe one day we will all have a 400-million-dollar yacht. And all he had to do is fight to keep wages low for hard working American families, God Bless Jeff Bezos’s and his decrepitude.
Ten years ago, or so I was self-employed, 2008-2010 kicked my ass. I had started an Internet business, and it was like picking money off the hundred-dollar bill tree. Then the music stopped and for sale signs popped up like mushrooms in front lawns across America. The big boys backed by an easy money Fed policy inflating the value of Real Estate. Anyone who could hold a pencil and sign their name could buy a house. Because anyone could buy a house the market swelled, and home prices soared accordingly. Puff, puff, Boom! Everything I had worked for my entire adult life gone, times tens of millions of Americans.
After an exhaustive search for nonexistent jobs my then wife suggested I try McDonalds. I’ve never been any good at math, but the concept was pretty easy one to grasp. One order in my business meant maybe two hundred dollars. Thirty hours at McDeath also meant two hundred dollars but would take thirty hours to earn. I could buy big boulders and pound them into sand and sell the sand. While doing my job I could also look for other work. McDonalds frowns on their employees looking for work on company time. Plus, McDonalds always advertises for help. That does not mean they are hiring only they know their turnover better than you do.
Two hundred dollars per week wouldn’t keep the wolf from the door nor even delay him much. It would only mean I’d be wearing a McDonalds smock when they repossessed my truck. There was no unemployment program for the self -employed. While I still had assets, I wasn’t eligible for food assistance. Once I became homeless, they were happy to help me. They told me my debit card would arrive in the mail in five days and all I had to do was live five days on six dollars. Sometimes it is not the event it is the emotion of the event that sears it into your memory. That first time being treated as less than human followed in a store or your first time being rousted by the cops.
During that time, I knew people who lived in tents, in cars and under bridges. Many were college educated and many had lost their businesses. They had done nothing wrong, nor had their children. They were the victims of a heinous plot perpetrated by those with the power to kink the hose. When it’s your turn to drink there is none. Because the self-employed and the unemployed received so little assistance, the economy as a whole suffered. The Republicans and some Democrats put their finger on the problem. Working Americans had screwed up the system buying houses they couldn’t afford once the economy tanked. You! You Sobs! You screwed up the American financial system with your greed! Look at what you did to poor Lehman Brothers! I hope you’re happy now! President Obama offered help for responsible borrowers only. Once underwater you shall sleep with the fishes. You brought this on yourself you know! You no good lazy sob.
The $300 unemployment benefit is a godsend. Ask my Landlord or the power company. I even bought a hamburger at a fast-food joint.” Republicans call me lazy. I won’t take a job lumping trucks at Amazon for $15.00 an hour at sixty-four years of age. My background is in sales and in this misadventure of writing. The secret of successful sales is in knowing that you can’t sell cow shit to cowboys and Eskimo’s don’t buy Frigidaire’s. They have plenty, but many sales jobs involve hiring three thousand salesmen to each make one sale. Fire them and hire three thousand more.
Or the wage and commission job, “With the commission you can make up for this startling low wage!” I was selling for a fueling company when the pandemic hit. What wasn’t closed was locked. I collected my wage, but my commission suffered until I was laid off. If you read a want ad and still don’t know what they want you to sell by the third paragraph, keep moving. It isn’t that I’m lazy, it’s that I’m old enough to smell bullshit at the front door. There are ten jobs I could be hired at today making less than minimum wage using my gas and my car. And be fired from by the end of next week and be out on my ass.
I read in one Kentucky County the extra $300 amounted to $90,000 a week. Remove that from the local economy and watch what happens. Republican Governors quick to squeal, “Lazy fucking Americans! You could make six dollars a day selling golf balls in the pro shop by diving into water hazards of local golf courses. But will your lazy ass, do it? Hell no!”
Again, math sours the deal; the people at the daycare make $10.00 dollars per hour while you earn $15.00. Well, you only earn $5.00 per hour after paying for daycare. You should be able to live comfortably on five dollars an hour, right? Because of the failure to maintain the minimum wage as a protector of the Middle Class it has been weaponized and been turned into an enforced poverty program. Take the job at the peon farm once your benefits have run out. Ride the slide to destitution, it’s the American way!
There is one immutable truth in American politics. Well fed people with rent paid and food cooking on the stove won’t turn out to vote for a reactionary Party. As Harry Truman said, “When are you going to figure out who keeps hitting you?” Make Americans suffer, cut their unemployment. Keep the minimum wage low. Have them and their little brats thrown out into the streets! We didn’t tell you to have kids! Then and only then, can we convince them their troubles are all the Democrats fault. Look what Joe Biden did to you! We Republicans, we just want to help you! We are your friends! See these nice bootstraps, well pull!
Republican Governors willfully and intentionally inflict misery on their people, both employed and unemployed. On children and seniors and business owners alike. I think if I owned a Dairy Queen, and some son of bitch took a quarter of a million dollars per month out of my local economy, I’d beat them with a knotted plow line. But the best chance the Republicans have to return to power is by making Americans suffer. The unemployed aren’t your friends, relatives and neighbors. They are the enemy! Dirty, lazy fat bastards! Lazy sacks of shit collecting money they don’t deserve. You could have a $400 million yacht someday if it wasn’t for the unemployed wanting to eat all the time and paying the rent. Lots of children grow up hungry and in dirty motels. It’s good for them! It builds character! Besides, if the economy recovers…we’re finished.
“We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests.”- Franklin Delano Roosevelt