The Hightower Report

Why Bill Clinton should just go away

What's past, as Shakespeare told us, is prologue.

So, let's flash back only two decades to that defining achievement of President Bill Clinton's presidency: "the end of welfare as we know it." He was awfully proud of teaming up with Republican ideologues to reverse FDR's historic commitment of providing "Aid to Families With Dependent Child­ren." While there were problems and abuses with this poverty-alleviation program, Clinton signed on to the right wing's fantasy that simply gutting it would magically make welfare recipients self-sufficient through "the dignity, the power, and the ethic of work."

But his faith in the work ethic lacked any actual ethics. Where were the jobs – much less decent-paying jobs – that were supposed to empower poor people? Bill had no plans for that, except a feeble request that major corporations commit to hiring a number of former welfare recipients. Surprise – they didn't!

Now, fast-forward 20 years, with millions of poor people – especially single mothers – having no jobs, no cash earnings, and no social safety net to protect them. Clinton's empty promise of jobs for the poor totally disappeared in the smoke of Wall Street's 2008 crash of our economy. Plus, he had handed the remains of our national poverty program over to states that are now run by right-wing politicos who've shriveled the benefits to Dickensian levels.

Thus, the United States of America – the wealthiest country in the history of the world – now has a "poverty program" that largely consists of the poor being homeless, selling their blood plasma for income, and scrounging our alleys and highway medians for aluminum cans.

But now, Hillary Clinton says she would put Bill in charge of fixing our economy. Hello – he "fixes" our economy the same way a veterinarian fixes your dog.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Bill Clinton
Alex Jones Apologizes!
Alex Jones Apologizes!
Slander against politicians is one thing; against pizza shop owners, another

Michael King, March 31, 2017

LBJ Library to Host Civil Rights Summit
LBJ Library to Host Civil Rights Summit
Carter and Clinton to deliver keynotes

Michael King, Feb. 21, 2014

More The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The Donald Show

Jim Hightower, July 10, 2015

The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The damning nuttiness of the GOP's "Hell No" faction

Jim Hightower, Aug. 15, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bill Clinton, Wall Street, Hillary Clinton, poverty, Charles Dickens

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle