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Posted by on Oct 9, 2011 in Business, Economy, Politics | 14 comments

Herman Cain to Unemployed: Drop Dead (Guest Voice)

“Don’t blame Wall Street. Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”
Herman Cain

OK, Herman Cain never told the nation’s 14 million unemployed or underemployed Americans to drop dead.

Neither, for that matter, did President Ford tell New York City to drop dead — as a famous headline in the New York Daily News proclaimed during Ford’s brief White House tenure.

But Ford might as well have told New York to drop dead, and the same applies to Cain and like–minded Republicans in 2011.

Ford was a Republican, and he was taking a stand against a federal bailout of a city that was struggling. I suppose modern Republicans — openly applauding, as they have recently, the refusal of medical care to someone because that person is not insured — would hail Ford as a visionary.

I have a feeling Cain would have liked the stand against bailouts — except, of course, for those cases in which he would be in favor of them. With today’s Republicans — hell, with politicians in general — it’s hard to say.

It all really depends, as an acquaintance of mine used to say, on whose ox is being gored.

Cain, of course, was defending New York — or, at least, Wall Street — against the angry protests from citizens who are understandably irked that the financiers have profited from their selfish practices that caused so much pain for many millions of Americans who, as a result of others’ creative accounting practices, lost their jobs.

Whose fault was that, Mr. Cain?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that there are always a couple of bad apples in any given barrel. But, as a song from my youth reminded listeners in those days, “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch.” Prejudice is prejudice, whether it is based on race or religion or age or gender — or financial status.

The Great Recession has deprived America of the efforts of many creative, talented people, and it is simply wrong for anyone who knows nothing about individual circumstances to make a blanket assertion that the unemployed are to blame for not having a job.

The vast majority of the unemployed are not to blame for their plight, and it is to Cain’s everlasting shame that he does blame them.

What’s next? Will he blame the sick and the handicapped for their conditions? Will he blame the elderly for coming down with maladies that typically afflict older people?

America was once a country that offered a helping hand to those who were struggling, but, somehow, America has gone from being a place that sought to judge people on the content of their characters to a place that judges people on the content of their bank accounts. Well, most politicians do, regardless of party.

All the politicians, from the Oval Office on down, want money, lots of it. If they speak of encouraging job creation, it is mostly lip service, intended to gain votes but said in a kind of nudge, nudge, wink, wink sort of way to the money boys. We won’t really hold you accountable, it implies.

No, they can’t risk offending the money boys — or, for that matter those who have grown comfortable in their rapidly dwindling middle–class lifestyles and for whom the thought of being unemployed is like indigestion or the sight of a homeless person panhandling at an intersection — temporarily unpleasant, but, once gone from one’s thoughts, it is forgotten, replaced by musings about this weekend’s cookout or the impending release of the latest electronic gadget — and those who can afford it (and even some who cannot) will still contribute money to candidates who promise them they can keep what little they still have.

Money is power. Money is clout. Money buys advertising time. The unemployed can’t afford to contribute much to political campaigns — their money is tied up in staying alive. But the financiers, the bankers, the Wall Streeters do have money, lots of it, and politicians in both parties shamelessly pursue it.

It’s not your fault, Cain and others like him soothingly tell Wall Street. It’s those greedy unemployed people. If they had any gumption, they’d go out and get a job or start their own business and make a fortune like Steve Jobs.

I share the rage that many people feel toward Wall Street, but I try to be rational about it. As I have observed so many times, things are rarely black and white. Most of the time, they are distinguished by subtle shades of gray.

I rather liked what Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic: “There are honest and dishonest people on Wall Street, sensible and absurd people in the Occupy Wall Street, accurate and inaccurate critiques of American finance.”

It is counter–productive to obsess about blame as we have a tendency to do in our culture these days. After all, Democrats promised to close Guantanamo and bring the troops home. I have Democrat friends who insist that these steps, along with taxing the rich, will put the economy back on track.

And I have Republican friends who blame excessive regulation and Obamacare for restricting job creation.

And neither side will concede that the other might have a good point or two.

We also have a tendency to rush to judgment. When Bush was president, critics were dismissed as unpatriotic. During Obama’s presidency, critics have been dismissed as racist. Neither side cared about legitimate concerns that were raised. That’s no way to build a consensus.

It’s been easier for both sides to adopt a take–no–prisoners–all–or–nothing approach to governing — to rely on shaming the other side.

Well, the shame is on the politicians. And a good place to start is with Herman Cain.

David Goodloe got his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas in 1982, and his master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas in 1991. He publishes the thoughtful weblog Freedom Writing. This post is cross posted from his website.

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • richard

    The 99% of the American public just want to know. Who do the supposed elected officials in DC actually represent? Corporate American or Americans. Why, do corporations get to flee the country in order to pay close to nothing in taxes while the average American pays about 30% of his or her hard earned wages toward supporting our country???? Why, do corporations get preferred treatment in Washington through lobbyists? Why, are banks so large and powerful? Who is sleeping with who (corporations and politicians)? This is what needs to be focused on. This is the crux of the problem. This is the AIM. Fix that and watch the abuses begin to clean themselves up.

  • Allen


    Cain is living in la la land.

  • jl

    To the Writer: If he didn’t say, then don’t put it in the Headline! You can’t say something and then retract it in the same article. That makes you a FRAUD and a LIAR.

    To Richard: You are an idiot!

    “Why do the corporations GET to leave and not pay taxes????”

    You are an idiot. Corporations are private entities. They are NOT owned by the government and they are free to do what the [email protected]@@ they want. They can stay or leave. Contrary to what YOU may believe, this is a FREE country. THE REASON they leave is because of your stupid DEMOCRAT budies that put so many tax codes on implications on Business that it DRIVES all business out of this country and into others.

    By the Way, do you know who owns ALL of those corporations???? You do!! That is IF you own a 401k or some sort of retirement fund that invests in stocks. A majority of Americans invest in retiremnt and they are the ones that own these companies.

    So, when anywone complains about the “CORPORATIONS” they are complaining about a company that they own a share of. Those companies supply jobs, retirements, medical care, growth, products, and your way of life, so don’t complain about them. If the government go out of their way, the prices of the goods that you buy everyday would drop significantly.

    We need to dump the TAX CODE. It is a cog in the wheel of America. Try checking into the Fair Tax, read the book, it address the exact topic that you made a comment on.

    If you have a chance, ask Heramn Cain, he will give you the correct answer AND he will have a solution for it!!!

    How do you like THEM APPLES!!!

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    To the author “That makes you a FRAUD and a LIAR.”

    “To Richard: You are an idiot!”

    “You are an idiot.”.

    “THE REASON they leave is because of your stupid DEMOCRAT budies…”

    Shame, they were probably good comments…just didn’t get to them,

  • Allen

    What is interesting is that Cain is carrying the water for big business with his comments.

    When he cuts taxes for big business he has yet to say what will happen to the tens of millions of Americans on Welfare and Social Security, because social spending cuts is his plan as it is, and, has been for ALL Republicans.

    He’ll turn his back of course and then direct the corporate media away from covering the mass starvation, crime, and, death that will undoubtedly occur.

    It’s a testament to the occupiers of wall Street that they haven’t “yet” started busting windows and burning cars, but that’s coming.

  • JSpencer

    Cain’s comment would have made more sense back when the economy was healthy, the country was manufacturing, and everyone had a shot at prosperity. The limiting factors then were how hard a person was willing to work and how talented they were. This is no longer the case. His comment now only shows how disconnected he is from today’s realities. We don’t exactly need yet another politician who talks about things he doesn’t understand.

  • dduck

    JS said: “We don’t exactly need yet another politician who talks about things he doesn’t understand.
    I would say you were accurate, except Cain knows businesses, has worked for a living and advanced himself nicely. He is NOT a BS artist or another egghead. Most if not all candidates, Rep or Dem, don’t know jack (they learn the real deal after they enter the WH; before they fake it), except how to con an audience and get reelected if they hold some office. Cain, was subject to getting fired if he failed and promoted for good results.
    He also turned around a failing division, don’t we need someone who MIGHT, walk the walk instead of talking the talk? Yes, Cain can.

  • rudi

    LOL Guess what the best back ground in business got us, Hoover and Bush 41. I’ll even take an actor over a business back ground.

  • dduck

    Guess you’ll also take a college prof with experience as a community organizer, also.

  • rudi

    No DDuck, it’s you who values a business back ground, not me. I forgot the peanut farmer(Carter) and his back grtound. If the Bush’s can be a dynasty. what is going on with the Roosevelt family. Two of their ancestors were great POTUS and are on Mt. Rushmore. Give me another Teddy Bear over the Gipper…

  • dduck

    Glad you mentioned TR, he had the grace and common sense to reject the Nobel peace Prize and he went after big business too.

  • rudi

    Teddy R was RINO before anyone even coined the phrase. The Republicans are a joke. Mittens trumped his fathers brainwashing by taking flip-flopping to and art. Papa Romney and Milliken couldn’t even win election as dog catcher in today’s Michigan Rethuglican Party

  • jl

    Once again, a Liberal with name calling, prey on your fears, and change the topic:

    Allen: Cain is carrying the water for big business

    He’ll turn his back of course and then direct the corporate media away from covering the mass starvation, crime, and, death that will undoubtedly occur.

    Oooohhhh My Gosh … He is a secret agent, He carries WATER for Big Business, oh no, he is someone to Fear, oh no, lookout, you can’t vote for him, I called him a name.

    Look you idiot. He doesn’t carry water for Big Business, he IS big business. He brought Godfather’s pizza back from the dead. He can bring this stupid country back from the dead. Big Business is what this country needs, it needs growth, idiot. It needs jobs, Idiot. It is morons like you that have stagnate the wheels of Buisness with all of the liberal minded rules and taxation loopholes, and european green minded propaganda BS.

    You sit there and whine and complain about no jobs and low salaries and then you want to ATTACK the businesses that supply you those jobs, those salaries, and the goods that you sell.

    Do you live in a grass hut in the woods, naked, and eat berries. Otherwise, you take part in Big Business and are just as guilty as anyone. So, go hug your tree somewhere, but do it in Europe where you will be right at home will all of the other Bankrupt governments and their handouts.

    Then comes the fear tatics from the Liberal: millions will starve

    Look around idiot, millions are out of jobs, looking for money to put food on the table. The money comes from working for a business so that you can take home a paycheck. It DOES NOT come from the Government, the governement can’t just keep printing money and taxing people to death. At some point they run out of money and the people run out of a will to work just so they can give the government their hard earned money. That is what is going on today and it NEEDS TO STOP.

    So, being that you talk like an 18 year old college kid living off of his parents and the government, I am going to tell you, Grow up, get educated (with life not college), go out and get a job, walk accross the street of your campus and buy a slice of Godfathers Pizza. They’re hiring!!!

  • jl

    To JS Spenser: Cains comments would make more sense … back when ..

    This is exactly the point.. You are criticizing Cain when he is trying to get the country BACK to exactly the place you mentioned his comments only make sense.

    This is the problem with America TODAY. No one wants to work, they are happy with receiving unemployment, they are happy with receiving handouts from the government, they don’t want to pay for them, so they want to tax everyone except themselves to pay for it. In other words, they want to live for free, not work, and live on someone elses dime. THAT is called Communism. It didn’t work for Russia, it didn’t work for China. Both have free enterprises today, both of which are likely more Free market than that of the Land of the Free.

    Everyone still has a shot at prosperity today, they just have to work for it, same as yesteryear. The only problem is people today, don’t want to work and don’t have to work.

    The factors for Cain himself WERE harder than that of today. He is black, and grew up during a time that it was hard to get ahead and to get an education, yet he did those things, he came from poverty, he did it, so why can’t you or anyone else. Today, people want to give everyone so many “crutches” to stand on that no one knows what it is like to fail or to scrape themselves up to try again. It is so so fullfilling to achieve after failing. It is one of the best feelings in life to conquer after failure yet Americans rob themselves of that opportunity everyday.

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