Conservative Shift on Unemployment Benefits: from George W. Bush to Frank Luntz

Conservative Shift on Unemployment Benefits: from George W. Bush to Frank Luntz

“These Americans rely on their unemployment benefits to pay for the mortgage or rent, food, and other critical bills. They need our assistance in these difficult times, and we cannot let them down.” – George W. Bush, 2002

“You should not expect a handout. You should not even expect a safety net. When my house burns down, I should not go to the government to rebuild it. I should have the savings, and if I don’t, my neighbors should pitch in for me, because I would do that for them.” – Frank Luntz, The Atlantic, 1/6/2014

Easy for him to say. He lives in a 14,000 square-foot mansion in Los Angeles. What if he lived in a modest house near the Jersey shore when Hurricane Sandy struck? Would his neighbors be able to pitch in? His neighbor’s neighbors? No.

I’ve heard this impracticable conservative pitch for replacing government assistance with charitable giving many times before. It may very well work on a very small scale like within your neighborhood or within your church or whatever, but it can’t work on a large scale when millions or, worse yet, tens of millions of people are affected by a natural disaster or a Wall Street disaster. Well not unless everyone gets paid millions of dollars like Frank Luntz is to sell his twisted political language to the Republican party and Fox News.

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