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for their retirement Lum and Abner

Hendricks 1

Lum and Abner

What is the first thing you think of when you here of the 1930s, Amos and Andy or how about Lum and Abner?  Lum and Abner werent really expected to do anything with their lives; they were just having fun trying to make something of them selves.  They became two of the most famous people from Polk and Montgomery counties: Chet Lauck- Lum, Norris Goff- Abner, and the history of Lum and Abner.  
Chester Lauck was born in Alleene, Arkansas, February 2, 1902. (Alleene, Arkansas)(www.mu.net/stemple/page1.htm)  His parents were W.J. and Cora Lauck. (Cate, Micheal, 190)  Chet moved to Mena in 1911, where he met Norris Goff.  They became very good friends.  Chet lived on Port Arthur Avenue in Mena.  His father owned the sawmill and was the Union Bank president.  Chet went to Mena high school.  He played baseball, basketball, football, and track.  He had two older brothers and one younger sister.  He graduated from high school in 1920.  After high school, Chet went to the University of Arkansas and got a degree in advertising.  He was the co-editor of the Universitys humor magazine and was a Razorback cheerleader.  After the University of Arkansas, he went to study at Chicago Institute of Fine Arts. (Stucker, Kathryn Moore)  In 1926, Chet married Harriet Wood.  He had three children: Shirley, Nancy, and Chet Jr.
Norris Goff was born in Cove, Arkansas, May 30, 1906. (www.me.net/stemple/ page1.htm)  His parents were Rome and Dora Goff. (Cate, Micheal, 190)  He lived on Reine Street.  His father worked as a wholesale grocer. (Williams, Troy, 70)  When Norris was in high school, he was quarterback for the football team.  He graduated in 1924.  He then went to the University of Arkansas and the University of Oklahoma.  
Hendricks 2
After college he worked at his fathers company.  In 1929, Norris married Elizabeth Bullion.  They had a boy, Gary, and a girl, Gretchen. (Stucker, Kathryn Moore)
Waters was the name of the town Chet and Norris got started in.  Waters sounded like a swamp so they changed the name of the town to Pine Ridge, because of the woods and valleys of the Ouachitas.  In Pine Ridge there was a sawmill, post office, blacksmith shop, gristmill, and other necessary services to the farm community.  The community started in the early 1900s.  Lauck and Goff lived close to each other.  
By 1931, they became Amos and Andy imitators.  Chet and Norris liked clowning around at the Elks Lodge and Possum Club Banquets.  On July 27, 1931, they made their national radio debut on NBC radio network from Chicago.  The program Lum and Abner aired from 1931 to 1953.  The programs were fifteen to thirty minutes long.  The first sponsor was the Quakers Oats Company.  Other sponsors were Ford Motors Company, Horlicks Malted Milk, Alka Seltzer (the longest lasting association), and General Motors.
Their philosophy was simply best summed up in one piece of advice: Never put your faith in seed catalogues.  That thing with the double barreled name always turns out to be radishes. (Williams, Troy, 71)  
Chet Lauck once said during the 1930s, Were sort of like Mussolini.  Weve created Pine Ridge and people in it, the mayor, the justice of the peace, the fire chief, the
grocer.  Were dictators by remote control.  Its our town and we run it to suit ourselves. (Williams, Troy, 71)  

Hendricks 3
The personalities of the people they swapped stories with, while stopped at rural stores, were to become the characters they created for their radio programs.  Grandpappy Spears was based of Cling Wilhite, from one of the earliest Waters families both wore floppy hats and rode a white mule.  Cedric Wehunt was based on Lester Goble, slow of speech but humorous.  The real Ola Hooper became Elizabeth Peabody, large of heart and stature but stern of voice in hand.  Eva May ONeal became Little Pearl, each planned on becoming a nurse but Miss ONeal died at age 18 from injuries received in a fall from a horse.  Margaret Wilhite became Sister Simpson, Anna Risenhoover became Aunt Charity Spears and Aunt Chat Lawrence was Widder Abernathy. (Williams, Troy, 70)  Lauck and Goff carried the show mostly by themselves, doing different characters.  Occasionally there ... more

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Social Security

Social Security is a hot topic of debate today, since most American's believe
that the system is near collapse. The trust fund that Americans have been paying
into for Social Security is likely to dry up in 2029 due to the large number of
baby boomers heading into retirement. Franklin Roosevelt set up Social security
to help the people that had worked and Struggled all their lives in honest toil.
Social security was set up to accomplish two main goals. The first goal of
Social Security is to act as a disability or life insurance policy that protects
almost all Americans. Currently, there are seven million survivors of deceased
workers and four million disabled Americans that receive income support from
Social Security. The second goal is to provide lifetime retirement benefits that
rise with inflation. Social Security payments for retirees are needed to keep
half of the elderly Americans above the poverty line. A large number of baby
boomers believe that they won't see a dime's worth of Social Security benefits,
and most younger people assume that once they have reached retirement the
program will be gone. There have been many proposed solutions to the Social
Security problem. A first possible solution is to dramatically change the Social
Security Payroll Tax. Another proposal is to change amount of benefits of the
provided by Social Security. A third reform proposal includes investing Social
Security money in stocks either by the government investing the money or by
setting up mandatory IRA investing. Another major development in the future of
Social Security is the recent proposals made by President Clinton's Advisory
Committee on Social Security. In January of this year the Advisory Committee on
Social Security presented a report of strategies to save Social Security.
Shortly after the 261 page report was released there was a huge increase of
debates and criticism over the future of Social Security. The issue facing
American today is when and how to reform Social Security. Although the American
public and political groups are unwilling to accept the burdens of social
security reform, extensive reform is needed soon to continue paying the current
benefits to American citizens. A change in the Social Security tax is a possible
factor of reform to bring the Social Security program back on track. Currently
the Social Security tax is a flat-rate tax paid on all employment earnings up to
a specified limit. Due to inflation the limit is increased every year currently
it is just over $60,000. This tax is much harder on a lower income individual
because the higher income individual is only taxed on their income that is below
a certain amount set every year. It has been proposed that if the limit on the
payroll tax were lifted, two-thirds of the projected Social Security deficit
would be eliminated. Once the limit on the payroll tax is lifted a rise in the
tax rate of the employers and the employees by 1.1% is predicted to be enough to
solve Social Security's problems. This is assuming that two evasive actions take
place. First the government will have to keep its hands of this extra tax
revenue gained by the tax increases. Second the proposed solution will only have
a chance to work if it is started immediately while the baby boomers are still
able to add a little more cash to the trust fund for there own retirement. This
solution isn't likely to be implemented by today's political system. The
advisory council on Social Security would not pursue the lift of the limit
because the support of the wealthy voters for Social Security reform would be
lost. Americans are also weary of Social Security tax increases. The middle and
lower class voters would also not support a Social Security tax increase. A
recent poll by Money magazine found that 70% of the public is unwilling to pay
more tax than the current 6.2% rate. Another proposed solution to Social
Security's problems is a to decrease the amount of benefits received by
retirees. The first way to reduce the amount of benefits that are being paid out
is to adjust the CPI. Sen. Daniel Monynihan of New York (Dem.) has proposed that
a 1.1% cut in annual cost-of-living adjustments for pensioners would be a
reasonable solution to Social Securities problems. The adjustment of the CPI
would reflect the belief by many economists that the CPI overstates current
inflation. He claims that this would almost completely solve the problems in the
Social Security program by insuring that the expected inflow ... more

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