The 5 Biggest Widely Accepted Lies in Politics
“An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.” – Eric Hoffer
“It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.” – Ronald Reagan
Most people who read my columns are used to seeing liberal assumptions and ideas about how the world works challenged, but today I’d like to undermine some ideas you often hear repeated across the political spectrum. These are ideas that are often just accepted without proof by people of many ideological stripes, even though they’re not true. For example…
1. Immigration benefits America
If you said, “Law-abiding immigrants who assimilate into the culture and add to the tax base benefit America,” I could not agree more. However, that’s not an apt description of American immigration anymore. Illegals certainly aren’t law-abiding and immigrants are no longer strongly encouraged to assimilate into our culture, although some do anyway. Moreover, the MAJORITY of immigrant families are on the dole in some way, shape, or form. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “In 2014, 63 percent of households headed by a non-citizen reported that they used at least one welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native-headed households.” How does allowing people into the United States who leech off the citizens who are already here benefit the country? Could we design an immigration system that benefits the United States? Absolutely, but the one we have isn’t it and, in fact, if we stopped all immigration except for those marrying into American families for the foreseeable future, the country would be better off than if we continue what we’re doing.
2. The middle class is overtaxed
If government were the size that fiscally responsible conservatives and libertarians THINK IT SHOULD BE, then the middle class would indeed be overtaxed. However, that is not the world we live in. Instead, we’ve built a truly massive government, asked the rich to pay for most of it, and then borrowed to finance most of the rest instead of asking the middle class to pay THEIR FAIR SHARE.
According to CBO calculations, low-income households earn five percent of the nation’s income but pay just one percent of all federal taxes. Middle-income households earn 14 percent of national income but shoulder 9 percent of all federal taxes. Even those households in the upper-middle class bear a lower tax burden than their share of national income. The top one percent of households (which starts at $500,000 for a two-person household) pay 25 percent of all federal taxes, still significantly more than their share of the nation’s income.
If these government programs are worth doing, then we should be willing to go to the middle class and ask them to pay a fair share of their income to pay for them. Of course, the reality is that most of these programs aren’t worth doing and it’s a lot more politically painless at the moment to borrow the money than to ask middle-class Americans to pay more in taxes. If the middle class truly had to pay their fair share to keep these government programs going, then you’d undoubtedly see the size of government shrink rapidly. There are an awful lot of politicians committed to making sure that never happens.
3. You could make just as good of an argument that America is a matriarchy as a patriarchy
As Rand Paul once said, “If there was a war on women, I think they won.” Many people point to the men on top, but percentage-wise, there are very few of them. Meanwhile, men get longer jail sentences than women for the same crimes and make up the vast majority of homicide victims and combat deaths in the military. In addition, women make up 56 percent of college students, women win 80 percent of the child custody cases, men kill themselves at four times the rate that women do, and on average, women live five years longer than men do. To argue that we are living in a patriarchy where women get the short end of the stick, you have to ignore mountains of evidence that suggest the alternate conclusion.
4. Character doesn’t matter for politicians
Democrats have long since abandoned the idea character matters for politicians and Republicans have moved away from the idea as well in the post-Bill Clinton era. The problem with this is that politicians are kind of like used car salesmen. You sort of expect them to be a little sleazy, but when that sleaziness provokes shoulder shrugs instead of anger, they go over the top. Next thing you know, they’re sticking a go-cart engine in the car you’re buying and people are saying, “Well, gee, what did you expect?” We’ve now gotten to the point where Barrack Obama can sell the American people on a new entitlement program that was sold with lies from start to finish and not pay any serious price for it. Marco Rubio can campaign for the Senate as an immigration hardliner, betray everyone who took him at his word by pushing amnesty, and still be considered a serious presidential contender. Trump lies about anything and everything, but as long as he throws in some funny comments about Elizabeth Warren — who herself moved her professional career forward by lying about being an Indian — no one cares. It’s no coincidence that faith in government, the effectiveness of government, and the seriousness with which politicians took their jobs all seemed to crater at about the same time that the public as a whole gave up on expecting any sort of character from politicians.
5. Diversity is a strength
While you might be able to make the argument that diversity of thought is a strength, diversity itself is a weakness. In fact, much of the political infighting, hatred, and disagreement in modern American politics centers around diversity. Every disagreement between a liberal minority and non-liberal white American is summed up as racism. Every failing of a woman or female disagreement with a man is summed up as sexism. We can’t have a sane immigration policy because it’s declared as racism against Hispanics. Accusations of racism and sexism have almost completely replaced arguments and rational thought on the Left because who needs to have good ideas if you can just argue that your opponents’ arguments are invalid because they’re bad people?
As a little thought experiment, imagine two million people typical in every way except for the fact that they are green and they show up in every nation on earth. Within six months’ time, Democrats would declare that Republicans hate green people; a green Jesse Jackson would shake down corporations for being insufficiently supportive; BuzzFeed would run articles saying that America is full of hate because some 15-year-old white kid teased a green kid; Hulk movies would be banned and declared racist. All across the planet, the more diversity you see in culture, the more strife, bloodshed and, problems you see.