Fenwick Archive  |  Trotskyist Writers  |  ETOL Home Page

James M. Fenwick

Off Limits

A Lesson in Politics

(2 September 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 35, 2 September 1946, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the ETOL.

A GI dad and his four-year-old son talk over the state of the nation:

SONNY: Daddy, who’s General Omar N. Bradley?

DADDY: Why, he’s head of the Veterans Administration, son.

SONNY: How did he happen to get that job?

DADDY: He was said to be the soldiers’ general – the friend of the veteran.

SONNY: Is that why he was opposed to increasing disabled veterans’ pensions by 20 per cent?

DADDY: I don’t understand where you pick up such cynical remarks. Have you been reading that Labor Action again?

SONNY: But why was General Bradley opposed to increasing the pensions 20 per cent?

DADDY: He said it would be inflationary.

SONNY: Did General Bradley say that the entire $7,091,034,000 budget for the army next year was inflationary?

DADDY: If he did it wasn’t above a whisper, son.

SONNY: Do officers ever whisper, daddy?

DADDY: No, the closest they ever come to it is when they lower their voices to a yell.

SONNY: Then why DIDN’T he say it was inflationary?

DADDY: Because the army budget as a whole brings juicy profits to the capitalists. The pensions don’t.

SONNY: But the capitalists didn’t suffer in the war. It was the veterans who were killed and mutilated.

DADDY: That’s right. But don’t worry – the capitalists take care of their faithful servants. For instance, suppose I had lost a leg in the war. The government would pay me around $120 a month to live on.

SONNY: But you know you couldn’t support yourself, and mother and me, on that,

DADDY: That’s right. But not all veterans are that badly paid.

SONNY: How do you mean?

DADDY: Well, take General Bradley. A grateful government pays him $1,000 a month.

SONNY: But he HAS both legs!

DADDY: It’s plain to see you’re turning into a young troublemaker. Now get back to your volume 1 of Capital. Daddy wants to read about the Philadelphia policeman who is accused of robbing a dead man.

SONNY: What was the policeman’s name – Andrew J. May?

DADDY: No, but I must admit it’s a natural question for a person to ask. Now quiet, son – daddy’s busy.

Fenwick Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 27 March 2020