Immigrants overwhelm government services, yet contribute nothing. For example, they are constant users of Medicare, draining far more money from it than they contribute. This is the long-lived conservative Republican claim, and the background for of a number of ugly state laws. In actuality, immigrants contributed $115B to Medicare from 2002 to 2009, whereas US-born persons generated a deficit of $28B over the same period. This claim, like so many from conservatives, is an item of faith, a racial prejudice that is proven false by the facts. But facts appear to matter little to many conservatives in the US. They prefer to pound on falsehoods incessantly, on the theory that they will eventually be believed. However, I must applaud Jeb Bush, the former president’s brother, who recently laid it on the line to a gathering of religious folk. He told them what they believed about immigrants is simply wrong on all counts. I wonder if any of them changed their minds.
One of the main reasons we must have minimal government is that government agencies are incapable of efficient functioning. Nearly everything they do could be done at a savings by private corporations. This is false from the outset, from all angles. First, there are numerous government agencies that are very well run, and quite efficient. Second, private businesses are very often run so incompetently it’s amazing they can survive. Third, private business must generate profit; government agencies do not. Gar Alperovitz’ recent book, What Then Must We Do? lists dozens of examples of excellence in government services, several of which I have mentioned in previous posts. The book is probably the current best compendium of factual knowledge comparing the efficiency of government and private enterprise, and government wins this one hands down.
Facts matter little to conservatives.
Conservatives believe in some things everyone supports: the family, moral behavior, the rule of law, and so on. Unfortunately, they also believe that they themselves, and those who think and look exactly like them, are the only ones who embrace these universal ideals. Quite literally, everyone else is unworthy. Take their scarcely disguised—or undisguised—dislike of Mexicans, lazy drifters who steal American jobs (as if Mexico were not part of America, to begin with), and cost taxpayers millions.
Mexicans are some of the hardest working people in the world, and their work in agriculture is unbeaten anywhere. They do not “steal American jobs”. They contribute significantly to our economy. Their moral behavior and family values are far stronger than those of us Norteños. Republican conservatives want to deport anyone who came to the US without papers as a child. Is there anything more heartless than punishing a person a decade or two later for a parent’s failure to get papers when papers were impossible to obtain, and to deport them to a country where they have never been and know nobody? Or maybe worse, separating the parent from the child?
African-Americans, many conservatives will say out loud and for public record, are stupid and lazy, and would much rather live their entire lives on welfare. But they seem to have forgotten that the lifetime limit for welfare is five years, and US blacks have faced unique and forbidding employment barricades from the date of the Emancipation Proclamation, their economic fortunes in every respect being held down by the racism so often seen among conservatives. A number of Southern states, most notably Texas and North Carolina, are passing draconian laws to punish immigrants and prevent ethnic groups that might vote for Democrats from voting. The Supreme Court is abetting this miscarriage of justice, saying that the conditions of racism that existed 40 years ago are gone. Ask any person of color if that’s true.
The fact is, the US is a nation of low tax burden.
We must get rid of all government agencies except the military, so that we can rid ourselves of our insufferable crushing tax burden. That’s the conservative Republican chant, and it is demonstrably wrong. The ongoing bloviation against high taxes is simply nonsense. This comes under the rubric of The Big Lie, which, repeated often enough, becomes accepted as fact. But the fact is, any table of comparative tax rates will show that the US is a nation of modest tax burden.
The economy-killing liquidity trap the US and much of the rest of the world has been in since Wall Street bankers crashed the world economy in 2008 clearly calls for deficit spending to spur demand and boost employment. This has been demonstrated numerous times, as has its opposite, that austerity kills the economy, causing high unemployment and great suffering. But the nation’s economic decisions are determined not by factual evidence, not by research, not by the advice of economists, but by conservative obstructionism, by Republicans whose entire political goal is not to do what’s good for the country but to oppose everything President Obama supports. Literally. Not that US conservatives are unique in their support of counterproductive austerity; European economies are also being driven into the ground by the same bull-headedness and unwillingness to admit error. In June the EU set a new record for unemployment of 12.2%, with youth unemployment above 60% in some markets.
Republicans in Congress have devoted
their entire effort to opposing Obama.
Republicans in Congress, instead of fulfilling the duties for which they were elected, have devoted virtually every bit of their effort since January 2009 to opposing anything and everything that President Obama supports. It’s literally party policy. In the service of this lofty goal they have invented outright fabrications to support their own fairy tales. Obama’s skyrocketing federal deficit is one such fabrication, the fact being that the deficit soared under Bush 43, and has declined under Obama 44.
Far right Republicans tend to declare that whatever particular belief they have has God’s stamp of approval. So, for example, a Texas rep recently claimed that God gave us the right to carry guns around. With all the recent stupidities about women floating about on the right—usually emanating from a committee of old white men—a number of these men have claimed either that pregnancy from rape was what God intended, or it was impossible to get pregnant from rape, or some comparable fiction. Both Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann have said that God spoke to them personally about their decision to run for office, as well as in support of their political goals. God, in fact, informed a number of Republicans that they should run for president, they claimed. It turns out that God, in fact, hates gays and same-sex marriage, and has sent several hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes to prove it. It never occurs to those who make such statements that their beliefs turn them into instant laughingstock for anyone who has learned to think above junior high school level.
A claim of God’s stamp of approval.
So, are any conservative claims actually true? Of course, but it’s hard to appreciate what’s true when it is surrounded by so much that is simply not true, but are invented claims, prejudicial beliefs, or sheer fantasy. There are many things in the US that must be rectified, but Republicans in Congress have wasted an entire presidential term and part of another denying provable truths, asserting false ones, embracing stupidities, and trying to prevent rational improvement.