Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Facts are stupid things

One of the many spiritual costs of spending a lot of time behind the wheel is having to read the bumper stickers on the battered vehicles of my struggling neighbors. Yesterday's soul-rotting annoyance was

Keep Working. Millions of welfare recipients are depending on you.

It was a rusty truck belonging to a tradesman of some kind. Then there was the National Pubic Radio interview with a couple of enthusiastic Trumpistas in New Hampshire who said that they were tired of illegal immigrants getting free cell phones and free health care. Of course NPR didn't bother to point out that illegal immigrants get absolutely no government benefits whatsoever. As always, they just let the falsehood sit there. (As Cokie articulates the policy, it doesn't matter if it's true, it's out there.)

As for the millions of welfare recipients, basically there aren't any, at last as my guy with the bumper sticker understands the concept. From Center for Budget and Policy Priorities more than 90% of government benefits (not counting tax breaks and subsidies for the rich, obviously) go to people who are elderly, disabled, or live in working households where the Walmart wages won't pay for the groceries. Almost all the rest goes to unemployment benefits, survivor benefits (you know, widows and orphans), and medical care (as opposed to paying for it some other way, as we have always done rather than let people expire in the hospital parking lot). In other words, the bumper sticker guy's mother, and himself if he's out of work (which he probably has been). 

But Republicans get away with making people think there's a super secret kind of welfare that all the dark people are getting that they don't have access to. And the corporate media aren't going to set them straight on it because of Cokie's rule. That's where things stand.

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