Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, February 10, 2014
A University of Iowa professor is in hot water this week after writing a nearly 1,300-word essay for POLITICO Magazine bashing Republicans for criticizing high unemployment in the United States, as it relates to both the Affordable Care Act and in general. The kicker: the professor in question, Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt, teachers “leisure studies” at the school.
The premise of Hunnicutt’s article deals with the fact that even though the Affordable Care Act is projected to cost Americans 2.5 million jobs over the next 10 years, Republicans should be instead celebrating the return of “the forgotten American dream” and possibly even find “a more practical road to ‘full employment’.”
“The president’s critics, in high dudgeon, are fulminating about lay-abouts and scofflaws actually choosing to work less than what God intended, predicting a host of ills that will supposedly befall the nation, from moral turpitude to economic ruin,” he wrote.
Hunnicutt then lays out his personal vision of “the American Dream,” a scenario that largely involves Americans foregoing their desires ‘to consume bigger houses, fancier clothes’ and ‘faster cars’.” He notes that American society would be better if people would focus instead on the ‘pursuit of happiness’ – such as increased knowledge, enjoying nature and becoming more spiritually aware, and not “acquiring more stuff.” He does not mention, however, how people will ‘sit around idly’ or pay for these pursuits.
Hunnicutt also uses a variety of dead historical figures to prove his theories, including John Maynard Keynes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, W. K. Kellogg and Henry Ford.
The ‘leisure sciences’ professor also took the time to lament that Americans today with full-time jobs “now average about five weeks longer on the job each year” than they did two hundred years ago, with stagnating median incomes. To Hunnicutt, this is “one of the great mysteries of the modern age.”
“Work is now viewed as an economic end in itself rather than a means to better purposes. Work for more work has become the organizing principle of society, embodied in public policy and in the politician’s mantra: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS,” he wrote.