‘Deadbeat’ a perspectiveHave you heard the term “deadbeats?” Do you know what that means? I heard it used often as a small farm boy during our great depression years when too many people couldn’t find work and most people who were working were working very hard for very little reward.
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
Have you heard the term “deadbeats?” Do you know what that means? I heard it used often as a small farm boy during our great depression years when too many people couldn’t find work and most people who were working were working very hard for very little reward. Their term for deadbeat meant the individual was one of many synonyms: lazy, good for nothing, couch potato, lazy bones, do nothing, drone, lay-about, loafer, slouch, sluggard — you get the idea.
Even as a small boy, I soon learned that those deadbeats were considered a useless, non-productive figure in a frugal, hard pressed society. They were like the person, supposedly helping carry a heavy object, who was not holding up their end — the worst kind of American.
I was reminded of the term as I recently read some literature that a conservative friend sent. It reminded me again of something I learned as a little boy when reading Kenneth Robert’s books, Rabble in Arms (U.S. side of the revolution) and Oliver Wiswell (England’s side of the revolution). The lesson learned: it makes a big difference who writes the history or who tells the story.
When my conservative friends send me those copies supporting their position, I know who the “deadbeats” are going to be; they are going to be the people on welfare — the “government dole” — who in their opinion, should be working, the ones on disability who could be and so on. It is almost always the ones on the lower end of the economic scale.
I’m considered a liberal and understand other liberals best who are looking for the “deadbeats” on the upper income level. Right now, they are receiving a good deal of attention, the Wall Street Investment Banks and accomplices who put together the sub-prime mortgage fiascos and other such scams. I see that end of the income scale doing considerably more damage. They almost brought our financial system down, our good old U.S. dollar and worldwide reputation.
Harder for me to get as worked up over the family who is eating on the dole and/or wearing clothing picked up at the Salvation Army.
Actually, of course, both forms of “deadbeats” are not what help us improve our society. We need to keep our guard up and running all the time.
And who is our guard? It is our government. According to some of our recent Tea Party members that government is too large, over taxing and over regulating government. However, when push comes to shove, it is government regulations that keep us from such shenanigans as our recent financial fandango.
Conservatives got the government off our backs when they got rid of the Glass Stegall Act of 1933, which prevented predatory lending.
On the other end, we have caseworkers supervising the welfare programs, and we want them use a fine tooth comb to rid us of unworthy freeloaders who have no real need. We claim to do a much better job at IRS, where we audit a high percentage on the low-income end, but sparsely on the high-income end.
You can see my liberal proclivities coming to the forefront in this analysis. I accept my conservative friends classification and criticism. While I’m not a religious person, I do think a good deal of one of our countries main religious authorities. He had much to say about feeding the poor, healing the sick, clothing the naked, etc. Also believe that he was famous for chasing the money changers out of the temple.
What advice do you think my conservative friends listen to?
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.