President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
The U.S. government bailout of, and acquisition of a majority share in, General Motors was an exceptional action, taken in response to exceptional circumstances. The U.S. stake in GM obviously poses novel managerial challenges to the government. The appropriate response to those challenges, however, is not to run from the responsibility through passive ownership and premature sale at a loss to taxpayers.
Britain is being subjected to a savage programme of social engineering, designed to create an economy where millions work for much less than the present £5.93 an hour minimum wage. This centres on plans to introduce workfare for the long-term unemployed, who will be forced to work for their benefit plus a £1-an-hour top-up.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to introduce US-style compulsory “workfare”, under threat of withdrawal of benefits to entire families. A new “claimant commitment” will include sterner conditions, notably the threat that unemployed people who refuse community work or the offer of a job may lose their jobseeker’s allowance for three months; if they refuse twice, six months; and three years on third refusal.
“We have a choice,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges. “You can either be complicit in your own enslavement or you can lead a life that has some kind of integrity and meaning.” Hedges argues for moral responsibility in a world bankrupt of it, and discusses the downfall of what he refers to as the liberal class in his newest book. From World War I to the present, he traces the rise and fall of liberal values, and paints a grim portrait of the future.
For all that, Hedges maintains some hope, and he joins Laura for a special conversation about liberalism and radicalism, past and present, and what we can do to ensure a better future.