A spokesman for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "think tank" appeared on the PBS News Hour and was interviewed by a flummoxed Gwen Awful. The man, Andre Gide, was a visiting scholar from "L'Autrichienne Economique," a neo-fascist institution located in Paris, France.
The topic of conversation was extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, which is before both houses of congress for consideration. There are 1.3 million unemployed affected by the cessation of these benefits, which occurred today.
This number does not include family members. Obviously a million or more infants and children are affected by the cut-off. Many observers say that these families are now utterly desperate and many face hunger.
Ms. Awful began the interview by asking Mr. Gide way he opposed the legislation re-instating the benefits for a three-month period, which is now before the U.S. Senate.
"Well, the legislation does not provide for offsetting expenditures or tax cuts. If there were tax cuts for the rich, which would stimulate the economy because of the trickle down effect, we at Heritage would support the bill," he said.
"But Mr. Gide, experts say that some of these families are going to suffer from food deprivation. What have you to say to that?"
Gide responded "Ils n'ont plus de pain ? Eh bien, qu'ils mangent de la brioche." Ha, Ha, Marie-Antoinette!"
Awful responded that she did not speak French and would he please translate his remarks.
"Well, Ms. Awful you must have studied Rousseau at the university where he said, 'Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d'une grande princesse à qui l'on disait que les paysans n'avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.'"
"Please, Mr. Gide, you're speaking before an American audience. Again, translate what you're saying for us," exclaimed Awful.
"Well, of course, Gwen, Rousseau was saying that he remembered that the great princess Marie Antoinette, when told that the peasants had no bread, responded, 'Let them eat cake.'"
The PBS reporter told Gide that "you must be joking, you can't be serious."
Gide responded that the joke was on her, Awful, because she probably didn't understand the meaning of what Marie Antoinette was saying.
"It's very funny, Gwen, because you see if the peasants couldn't afford bread they surely couldn't afford the much more expensive brioche. Now do you understand?"
Mr. Gide continued, " It's like ancient Chinese emperor who, being told that his subjects didn't have enough rice to eat, replied, 'Why don't they eat meat?' Ha! So you see, we can't take things like hunger too seriously."
Awful responded that this couldn't possibly be the position of the well-respected American Heritage Foundation.
"Well, I'll admit it's nothing they say openly in public," said the foundation's spokesman.