Democrats Introduce Americans with No Abilities Act (ANNA)-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Senate Democrats have introduced a bill called the Americans with No Abilities Act, or ANNA, to provide benefits to Americans who “lack any real skills or ambition.”
Claims about the Americans with No Abilities Act, or ANNA, stem from satire published by The Onion in 1998. Various versions of the rumor that have cropped up over the last two decades have been mistaken for factual news.
The original article was published by The Onion, a well-known satirical publication, on June 24, 1998, under the headline, “Congress Passes Americans With No Abilities Act.” The report begins:
WASHINGTON, DC—On Tuesday, Congress approved the Americans With No Abilities Act, sweeping new legislation that provides benefits and protection for more than 135 million talentless Americans.
The act, signed into law by President Clinton shortly after its passage, is being hailed as a major victory for the millions upon millions of U.S. citizens who lack any real skills or uses.
“Roughly 50 percent of Americans—through no fault of their own–do not possess the talent necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,” said Clinton, a longtime ANA supporter. “Their lives are futile hamster-wheel existences of unrewarding, dead-end busywork: xeroxing documents written by others, fulfilling mail-in rebates for Black & Decker toaster ovens, and processing bureaucratic forms that nobody will ever see. Sadly, for these millions of nonabled Americans, the American dream of working hard and moving up through the ranks is simply not a reality.”
The “report” goes on to claim that 25 million “important-sounding” jobs would be created under the bill for “non-abled” Americans without any workforce skills.
Over the years, the concept of the Americans with No Abilities Act have periodically resurfaced. In some instances, The Onion article has been mistaken for news. That happened most recently when an updated version of the American with No Abilities Act rumor began circulating in April 2017. That version sites U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as champions of the bill, which includes language taken word-for-word from The Onion article:
Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million mid-level positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.
Given that the latest version implies that Democrats held control of the Senate at the time of its writing, it was likely written before Democrats lost control of the Senate in 2014. However, it’s not clear where this version of the rumor originated, or if was meant as a joke or as fake news. Nevertheless, claims about the Americans with No Abilities Act are “fiction.”