Tell Me One True Thing

I promise you this. I will immediately accept and embrace any conservative proposal for our federal government that they can show with numbers is true. So far not a single one of their major beliefs or proposals can pass this simple test.

Here are some of the things they are claiming: US taxes are far too high. US taxes are among the lowest of modern nations. There is no way to erase that fact.

Voter fraud is a big problem. There is no evidence from any part of the US that this is the case. This racist canard has been trotted out again and again. It’s sole purpose is to provide justification for any number of proposals designed to limit voter participation by poor people and people of color, who tend to vote Democratic. It’s the 21st century equivalent of the poll tax.

We spend a quarter of our taxes on foreign aid. This is a favorite of the Tea Party folks, who hope to save vast sums of money by cutting foreign aid. Actually, foreign aid spending is less than 1% of tax revenue, which, incidentally, is quite stingy, particularly for the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen.

The vast sums we spend on our military keep us safe. The fact is, very little of our ongoing military mischief has anything at all to do with defense. Usually it involves bullying smaller countries because they have something we want, almost always oil. We are at present involved in military activity in more than a half dozen countries. Not even one of these adventures is related to defense, not even Afghanistan, which should have been a police action to capture bin Laden.

The US has the best health care system in the world. Well, yeah, if you happen to be a US senator. For the rest of us, most estimates, including Census estimates, center around 45-million, roughly 15% of the population, who have no health insurance at all. Conservative sources call this a lie, citing the jobless who will quickly get new jobs with health insurance. However, many are not getting new jobs, and of the ones who are, greater numbers of jobs don’t come with health insurance. Even if we underestimate by half, 22-million uninsured is still far too many. The fact is, national plans are well liked, and provide excellent care for 100% of the population. Virtually all of them are better than ours.

A national health care plan would make the country Marxist. Only if you consider the most advanced countries in the world, with health care systems far superior to ours, to be Marxist. Creative Republicans have tried to sell all sorts of tall tales about national plans, mostly about how terrible they are, but not one of their stories stands up to the evidence test. Virtually all national plans are better than ours, they are well liked, they cover everyone, and most are half as expensive as ours.

Teachers are overpaid. This is almost a joke. Almost, if we hadn’t witnessed so many ugly instances of name calling as Wisconsin eviscerated all rights to teachers’ collective representation. The fact is, our teacher salaries are far lower than the countries with the best educational systems. Teachers are priced out of the housing market in most urban areas. Yes, they do have time off during the summer, but don’t forget that most teachers work well into the night and on weekends during the school year, and spend four to eight years in college where they pay tuition and earn nothing. There are no rich teachers.

The free market will solve all problems. It was Ronnie Reagan who famously scoffed at the idea that the government could actually do something right. He spent the next eight years emasculating the regulations that had kept corporate evils at bay, by putting the regulated in charge of regulating, a process made even worse by George W. Bush. What we have instead of a healthy economy is banks out of control and symptoms of malaise such as two out of three major corporations paying no tax at all, and the present worldwide economic catastrophe. This is the blessing of the Unfettered Free Market, the depression years redux.

Tax breaks for the rich will provide many jobs and create wealth. In 1994, President Clinton boosted taxes for those with income above $200K, amidst great Republican outcries that it would ruin the economy, kill jobs, put us back in recession, kill businesses, etc., etc. What happened was seven years of solid growth, 23-million jobs created, and a budget surplus for the incoming president, George W. Bush.

Instead of capitalizing on this budget surplus windfall, Bush engineered a tax cut that he said would stimulate the economy and job growth. The result was the economic catastrophe we are still enjoying today. After ten years that gifted the rich with 1.7-trillion dollars, we face ongoing unemployment that resists dropping below nine percent. That same 1.7-trillion dollars destroyed the budget and boosted the national debt beyond its past unacceptable level to its present even higher unacceptable level, prompting Republican calls for spending cuts that would probably result in about 700,000 jobs lost (by politically independent study), and a budget and debt even more out of balance.

If anyone can demonstrate that any of the Republican beliefs discussed here is actually true, we should all become supporters. Don’t everyone speak at once.

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