If one wanted to make parallels between the current crisis in America’s governance and the run-up to the French Revolution, Republicans refusing to overturn President Trump’s tantrum-induced government shutdown risk being lumped together as a collective Marie Antoinette in a national “Let them eat cake” moment as nearly a million federal employees continue to either be furloughed from their jobs or work without pay as their bills go unpaid.
Comparisons such as this are inevitable when Trump administration officials such as Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, go on the PBS Newshour and make statements like the one he made yesterday evening as the shutdown is set to become the longest in our nation’s history this weekend.
“Right now about 25% of government workers are furloughed. Which means that they are not allowed to go to work. But then when the shutdown ends, they go back to work, and they get their back pay,” Hassett said.
“A huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say between Christmas and New Year’s. And then we have a shutdown, and so they can’t go to work. So then they have the vacation, but they don’t have to use their vacation days. And then they come back, and they get their back pay. Then in some sense they’re better off,” the Trump offical argued, exposing his economic privlege while ignoring the economic realities of federal workers living paycheck to paycheck.
The arrogance of the Trump administration’s lackeys —who defend the outlandishly stupid border wall fantasy that Trump has been weaving since beginning his campaign rallies — is beyond comprehension given the clear contempt that it demonstrates for the day to day lives of so many dedicated federal workers who will surely remember the pain inflicted upon them by the Republican president and his party’s cowardly enablers in Congress in the next election.
Furloughed government workers and those working without pay in a potential violation of the 13th amendment may have quite a different perspective on whether they are “better off” as landlords hound them for rent checks and banks demand their mortgage and credit card payments while they try to figure out how to put food on the table for their families.
Republican’s espousing such elitist claptrap risk driving the working class base that Trump conned into voting for him right back out of the party and into the arms of the Democrats.
They should remember the ultimate fate of the woman who made the phrase “Let them eat cake” so famous and rebel against Trump’s ego-driven and hateful border wall agenda that is so harmful to the livelihood of government workers before revolutionary tactics come back into fashion in this country as a response to the purposeful damage being waged by the GOP against Americans’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
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Original reporting by PBS NewsHour