Countering the Right: Two Ludicrous Op-ed Claims by Conservatives for the Day

Oh, the things the right will say to fool people!

First up, Robert J. Samuelson gave us his take on a new book detailing the perils of economic inequality by, of course, pretending like it isn’t a problem.  Buried in his critique was this ridiculousness:

As for the power of the super-rich, they hardly control most democracies. In the United States, where about 70 percent of federal spending goes to the poor and middle class, the richest 1 percent pay nearly a quarter of federal taxes.

Saying that 70% of federal spending goes to the lower classes does seem to back his first point on the surface but not in reality.  What if the GDP was $1 trillion with total government spending being $1,000 and 70% of that spending went to the lower classes?  Would that make it appear as if the super-rich hardly controlled the government and got what they wanted as far as taxes and spending?  Exactly.

A more accurate measure would be percent of GDP spent on social programs.  And where does the U.S. rank among developed countries?  No where near the top and, in fact, below the average (shown here).  As for his point about the richest 1 percent and taxes, I’ve addressed this previously here.

The other preposterous claim for the day comes from the Washington Examiner:

What Fox News found in its most recent public opinion survey was that 61 percent of Americans believe Obama “lies” about important public issues either “most of the time” or “some of the time.” No other president in living memory has conducted himself in a manner that warranted even asking if such a description was appropriate. (Emphasis added)

I’ll ignore the absurd and unscientific question in the Faux News poll and just ask, were the people at the Washington Examiner alive and awake from 2001-2009?

Actually, the question of presidential trustworthiness has been asked plenty of times just not in the stupid way Faux News decided to word it.  For example, this ABC News poll asked whether George W. Bush “Is honest and trustworthy?”  Answer in 2005: about 40% agreed, basically identical to Faux News’ poll for Obama considering margin of error.

And taking into account Bush left office with far worse approval ratings than he had at the time of that poll, safe to say his trustworthiness ratings would have been far worse if people had been asked the same question and given the same options for answers as the recent Faux News poll.

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