A professor of leisure studies at the University of Iowa has written a 1,278-word essay excoriating Republicans for criticizing both unemployment caused by Obamacare and unemployment generally.
Also, there is such a thing as a leisure studies major at taxpayer-supported American universities.
The essay by Benjamin Kline Hunnicut, entitled “Why Do Republicans Want Us to Work All the Time?” appears in Politico Magazine.
Hunnicut begins by admitting that the Congressional Budget Office has forecast that the Affordable Care Act “will effectively reduce the U.S. work force” by 2.5 million jobs “over the next decade.”
He then criticizes Republicans for calling 2.5 million lost jobs undesirable
“The president’s critics, in high dudgeon, are fulminating about lay-abouts and scofflaws actually choosing to work less than what God intended, predicting a host of ills that will supposedly befall the nation, from moral turpitude to economic ruin,” Hunnicut writes.
The leisure studies professor then lays out his vision of the “American Dream,” which largely involves Americans forgoing their desires “to consume bigger houses, fancier clothes” and “faster cars.”
He suggests that society would improve if people would focus on the kind of happiness he enjoys instead of “acquiring more stuff.” Specifically, he says Americans should “devote more and more of our lives to the ‘pursuit of happiness.’”
For Hunnicut, the “pursuit of happiness” includes “the increase of knowledge,” “the enjoyment of nature,” “increasing delight in the marvels of the human spirit” and “expanding our awareness of God.”
Hunnicut does not explain how people will sit around idly and also pay for these pursuits. However, he does co-opt a large number of dead historical figures on his own behalf including John Maynard Keynes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, W. K. Kellogg and Henry Ford.
The specialist on spare time laments the fact that Americans who have full-time jobs “now average about five weeks longer on the job each year than” in 1976. He claims that “median incomes are stagnating,” too.
Hunnicut calls this set of facts “one of the great mysteries of the modern age.” After a cursory rejection of a couple possible explanations, he suggests: “Work is now viewed as an economic end in itself rather than a means to better purposes. Work for more work has become the organizing principle of society, embodied in public policy and in the politician’s mantra: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.”
The expert on vacation science also wants a “sustainable alternative to perpetual economic growth.”
As far as Hunnicut’s own job as a full-time leisure studies professor, students at the University of Iowa give him mediocre marks at the website Rate My Professors.
Happy students say Hunnicut “opens your eyes and truly connects the dots in the grand scheme of things.”
More critical students call Hunnicut an “awful teacher” who is “very boring” and “really confusing.” Another student summarily calls him “the worst teacher I had at Iowa.”
“This guy sucks,” says still another student, “but I enjoy the comb over.”