Common Liberal Myths

ob05A hallmark of progressive politics is the ability to hold fervent beliefs, in defiance of evidence, that explain how the world works. Kate Bachelder, an Assistant Editorial features editor at the WSJ, on October 30, gave us a list of the most common liberal myths tossed about during every election.

SPENDING MORE MONEY IMPROVES EDUCATION. The U.S. spent $12,608 per student in 2010, more than double [in inflation-adjusted dollars] what we spent in 1970, spending that has surpassed $600 billion. How’s that working out? Adjusted state SAT scores have declined on average 3% since the 1970s, as the Cato Institute’s Andrew Coulson found in a March report. The Program for International Student Assessment reports that in 2012, 15 yr. olds place in the middle of the pack, alongside peers Slovakia which spends half as much money per student.

GOVERNMENT SPENDING STIMULATES THE ECONOMY. Case in point is Obama’s 2009 shovel ready $830 billion stimulus bill, promised to keep unemployment below 8%. Result: four years of average unemployment above 8%. Federal outlays soared in 2009 to $3.5 trillion, but all we got was this lousy 2% growth and a new costume for Army Corps of Engineers mascot Bobber the Water Safety Dog. Every Senate Democrat voted for the blowout.

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ALWAYS HAVE A SPENDING ADVANTAGE OVER DEMOCRATS.   Remember dirty Harry [Reid] railing about the “radical billionaire,” Koch brothers, who were “attempting to buy our democracy?” The truth: The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee raked in $127 million this cycle, about $30 million more than the Republican Senatorial Committee and aired more TV ads than Republicans in several states, according to analysis by the Center for Public Integrity. Reid’s Senate Majority PAC raised more than $50 million. As the WSJ previously reported, between 2005 and 2011, labor unions—linchpins of the Democratic Party—spent $4.4 billion on politics, far outstripping any conservative rival.  Environmental groups who depend on democrats to keep them flush with taxpayer dollars contributed mega bucks to this year’s election with Tom Steyer of NextGenClimate alone throwing $76 million into the pot for candidates who promote the global warming scam.

RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE HELPS THE POOR. Obama wants to increase the minimum wage to $10.10, with the tagline “Let’s give America a raise.” The CBO estimates that the hike would cost 500,000 jobs, another blow to the low-wage earners it claims to help. Only 18% of the earnings benefits of an increase would flow to people living below the poverty line, according to analysis from University of California-Irvine economist David Neumark. Nearly 30% of the benefits would go to families three times above the poverty line or higher, in part because half of America’s poor families have no wage earners. Result: Minimum-wage increases help some poor families—at the expense of other poor families.

GLOBAL WARMING IS CAUSING VIOLENT WEATHER. Tell that to Floridians, who are enjoying the ninth consecutive year without a hurricane landfall. The Atlantic hurricane season in 2013 was the least active in 30 years. Oh, and global temperatures have not increased for 17 years.

VOTER ID LAWS SUPPRESS MINORITY TURNOUT. More than 30 states have voter-ID laws, which the left decries as an attempt to disenfranchise minorities who don’t have identification and can’t pay for it. Yet of the 17 states with the strictest requirements, 16 offer free IDs. The GAO released an analysis of 10 voter-ID studies, five of which showed the laws had no statistically significant effect on turnout, four suggested a decrease in turnout (generally among all ethnic groups, though percentages varied), and one found an increase in turnout with voter ID laws in place.

OBAMACARE IS GAINING POPULARITY. Obama claimed in an October speech that fewer Republicans were running against ObamaCare because “it’s working pretty well in the real world.” Reality: ObamaCare’s approval ratings hover around 40% and 27% told Gallup in October that the law was hurting them, up from 19% in January. Only 16% reported it helpful. A survey by the Physicians Foundation found that 46% of doctors gave ObamaCare a big fat ‘D’ or ‘F’ and less than 4% gave it an ‘A’.

THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE WILL INCREASE OIL SPILLS. Facts: In 2013 pipelines with a diameter larger than 12 inches spilled 910,000 gallons and railroad tankers spilled 1.5 million gallons. Yet pipelines carry 25 times the amount of oil that tankers carry, so forcing more oil to be shipped by rail guarantees more harm to the environment.

WOMEN ARE PAID 77 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR COMPARED TO MEN. The mother of all liberal lies, this figure comes from shoddy math that divides the average earnings of all full-time women by the average earnings of all full-time men, without considering career field, education or personal choices.  When those factors are included, the wage gap disappears. People make domestic and career decisions which affect some opportunities but those choices are not evidence of discrimination. A 2009 report commissioned by the Labor Department that analyzed more than 50 papers on the topic found that the so-called pay gap “may be almost entirely” the result of choices both men and women make.


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