Wage Slavery, Veterans, and Girl Scout Cookies


It seems unlikely that Wage Slavery, Veterans and Girls Scout cookies would go together, but I think that they do. USA Today reports that Ted Cruz’s grand idea to pay for services to Veterans who gave their lives in the defense of politics is to make them sell Girl Scout cookies.


To give Ted Cruz the benefit of the doubt, he came up with that off the cuff, claiming that he was “thinking out loud.” After he did however, he actually claimed to be proud of coming up with that idea while “thinking out loud.” So benefit of the doubt was revoked.

The reason for this policy shift? That the government spends too much money on veteran services already.

I’ve had a hard time compartmentalizing this idea. An old, unused term that has disappeared from the Academic lexicon came to mind: Wage Slavery.

One of the greatest achievements of any nation in modern political times is the establishment of an all volunteer military. Since the days of Feudalism, militaries have been conscribed; drafted. After Vietnam, the United States was one of the first to move toward an all-volunteer, reserve-oriented military. The largest means that the United States had in recruiting an all-volunteer military was benefits. Benefits for college, benefits if you got hurt in the line of duty, benefits for your career, and benefits for your family were the selling points.

History thus far has shown that nations that have an all-volunteer military achieve their goals against nations that don’t. So I wonder how many “volunteers” will sign up knowing that if they become disabled as a result of their service, they will be required to sell cookies door-to-door?

Where does wage slavery come in? It’s an old Marxist idea that a person is enslaved to their wages, and a person’s dependence on them is total and immediate. The term “wage slavery” disappeared from the lexicon around 1900. However, Marx (as usual) was incomplete. Some scholars also suggest that wage slavery requires the condition of stratification; where people’s choices for jobs are bound by a hierarchy in society (in this case, the 1%).

What this means is that people will have to take the lowest wages for their survival, and if they don’t, they will be stigmatized for their obvious poor choice.

And are we really different today than the wage slavery of the 1800s? Where people are trapped by their wages, and stigmatized for not improving their lot against a stacked deck?

Cruz suggests that veterans should be stigmatized and marginalized for not being forced to pay for their own services; services that were promised to them from a (seemingly) grateful society. Services promised for services rendered. And if veterans want services like physical therapy, mental health services, college, or housing, then they will be enslaved by their hierarchy to take whatever low-skilled, stigmatized jobs that will aid in their survival.

And to some degree, veterans are already doing this.

Ted Cruz has brought together Wage Slavery, Girl Scout Cookies, and Veteran Affairs in a way that only Ted Cruz could. I wonder how many more volunteers there will be for the military should he be elected. It has to be the worst recruitment market tool ever.

This entry was posted in Labor, Political Economy, Politics, Poverty, Slavery, Socioeconomics. Bookmark the permalink.

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