President Obama made the following groundbreaking announcement at the abandoned Members Only warehouse this morning (the same warehouse where Derek Zoolander and Hansel held their historic male model "walk-off"):
"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. As I look around this room, I see many well-dressed people. I see members of Congress, lobbyists for powerful special interests, and media giants in attendance. As the privileged few, we can afford the finest fashions, the best designer clothing. We are the lucky ones, but not everyone in America shares in our good fortune. Throughout this land, the wealthiest country in the world, we have a great disparity in the quality of clothing and accessibility to fine clothing. Even as we in this room don our Brooks Brothers suits and Donna Karan dresses, others, through no fault of their own, are forced to wear sub-standard clothing, such as cheap sweat pants and t-shirts from Value City or Goodwill. Others are forced into wearing threadbare hand-me-downs, and some even make pants out of trash bags, or wear only boxer shorts. Imagine if one of those people was your child or your grandmother.
This is a grave injustice in a country that prides itself on equal rights for all. Quality clothing is a basic human right, and no American should be without it. As many as 60 million in this country suffer from inferior clothing, and many die due to a lack of proper warm clothing in the winter. We have a moral obligation as a people to correct this situation, and that's why I'm calling today for an overhaul of our clothing delivery system. Everybody should enjoy the same quality of fine clothing that Congress receives, and that's the goal of my clothing reform.
We currently have a system where greedy clothing retailers and wholesalers line their pockets with profits while the underprivileged struggle to meet their daily clothing needs. Giant corporate interests and Wall Street gamblers make millions in this immoral de-pantsing of ordinary working people, who often must make a decision on whether to purchase proper clothing or pay their heating bill. CEO's like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger rake in the big bucks and live in mansions. The same can be said for the supermodels, the beautiful people who serve as hucksters for the corporate world and drive clothing prices out of the reach of most. Together, these shirtsters and shoesters add 30%, 50%, 100%, or more to the cost of our underwear and outerwear.
I receive many letters and e-mails from Americans seeking help with their apparel needs. One such letter came from Mr. Willy Makeit of Gary, Indiana. Willy writes, 'Dear Mr. President. I've been out of work for 6 months, and this morning I finally had a job interview. When I went to put on my one decent pair of dress pants, I noticed the rear end had split out, leaving me nothing to wear for the interview. As a result, I didn't get the job, and now I don't know how I will feed my six kids. Please help. I'm nearly at the end of my rope. I'm also a veteran.'
Hearbreaking stories like this are why I'm calling for a redistribution of our clothing wealth. I am creating a government program that will require the big clothing corporations to provide affordable, quality clothing for all. This program will bend down the clothing cost curve and provide clothing subsidies of up to $1,500 per year to all who need it. I will pay for this program by reversing the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and by imposing a tax on those making more than $250,000 per year. I also mandate that employers give clothing benefits to all employees at a minimum of $1,000 per employee per year. I further mandate that all clothing be union-made to insure that the finest quality is achieved. This will, of course, be resisted by the powerful special interests, but I will not stop. I will create a new government agency, the Federal Department Of Apparel, to insure against price-gouging, excessive profits, and outrageous executive salaries in the garment industry. My goal is to make the United States the best-dressed nation on earth, and I will not stop until this right is bestowed upon every man, woman, and child in this great country. Clothing is a more important right than the right to a job, the right to food, the right to shelter, or even the right to health care. Without clothing, you can't even do these other things. You'd be arrested if you went outside without any clothes on. Clothing is therefore a primary right.
There are naysayers who complain that the U.S. Constitution doesn't give the federal government the power to control the clothing industry. This phony argument presents a false choice, and is only a distraction used for partisan political purposes. In addition, the Constitution has a blind spot when it comes to both casual and formal wear. The founding fathers did not address the issue.
There are others who desire a single-payer clothing system, and while that is an admirable goal, the history of garment development in this country does not easily lend itself to this end. Unfortunately, we have a history of capitalism and free market economics in this country. Despite all it's flaws and inequities, we cannot fundamentally transform this system overnight. It will take time. My clothing reform is an important and critical first step.
I expect Congress to have the Clothing Reform bill on my desk by the end of this year, when I will sign it into law. In closing, I say God bless America, whether your God be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or whatever, or if you have no God at all. Thank you very much. Yes We Can !"
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