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Sat Dec 15, 2012, 05:57 AM

How an Astounding New Right-Wing Lie About the Economy Is Born

http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-astounding-new-right-wing-lie-about-economy-born



There's a new economic myth that's now being amplified by the conservative media. It demonizes vital public services and suggests that the poor are doing just fine thanks to the largesse of the country's “makers.” Conservatives are being told that the United States is now spending vast fortunes combatting poverty – more than we dedicate to national defense, Social Security and Medicare.

This new spin is notable not for its mendacity – although it is completely divorced from reality – but because its origins are easily traced, allowing us to see how these kinds of distortions come to be. This one originated with the work of an analyst at the Heritage Foundation who is well known for his intellectual dishonesty. It was then picked up by Republican staffers on Capitol Hill, who lent the claim credibility by requesting a Congressional Research Service report on the analysis. They then further distorted the narrative before distributing it to friendly writers at conservative media outlets, who dutifully reported the falsehood. It will soon become conventional wisdom on the Right, further distorting conservatives' view of taxes and spending.

The Myth

Several conservative outlets had the story before Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard , but his piece is the one that's been cited by hundreds of conservative blogs , right-wing radio talkers and Fox News . Halper, citing “the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee,“ framed the story like this: “Welfare spending per day per household in poverty is $168, which is higher than the $137 median income per day. When broken down per hour, welfare spending per hour per household in poverty is $30.60, which is higher than the $25.03 median income per hour.”

For fiscal year 2011, CRS identified roughly 80 overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. The total amount spent on these federal programs, when taken together with approximately $280 billion in state contributions, amounted to roughly $1 trillion.

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply How an Astounding New Right-Wing Lie About the Economy Is Born (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
tclambert Dec 2012 #1
xchrom Dec 2012 #2
Viking12 Dec 2012 #15
Jim__ Dec 2012 #3
reformist2 Dec 2012 #4
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #5
1-Old-Man Dec 2012 #7
SoapBox Dec 2012 #9
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #10
MessiahRp Dec 2012 #12
Chan790 Dec 2012 #13
Fortinbras Armstrong Dec 2012 #19
Turbineguy Dec 2012 #20
ck4829 Dec 2012 #16
tomg Dec 2012 #6
ProfessorGAC Dec 2012 #8
valerief Dec 2012 #11
ProfessorGAC Dec 2012 #26
Cerridwen Dec 2012 #14
xchrom Dec 2012 #17
RVN VET Dec 2012 #18
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #21
maindawg Dec 2012 #22
maindawg Dec 2012 #23
rgbecker Dec 2012 #24
starroute Dec 2012 #25
Festivito Dec 2012 #27
freshwest Dec 2012 #28

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:09 AM

1. That's kind of cool to see how a myth starts.

Now I'm gonna time how long it takes before I hear some right-wing boob quote it to me.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:11 AM

2. you'll probably hear it on the radio first. nt

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Response to tclambert (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:31 AM

15. I saw a version posted yesterday on a fishing website I frequent

something about person collecting all sorts of benefits living better than someone make $65k...blah, blah, blah.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:24 AM

3. That's great information! Thanks for posting it.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:29 AM

4. And here's how to shoot down that myth - tell them to divide the $1 trillion by 47% of 300 million.

My math gives me an average "welfare" benefit of just $7,092 per year, or $136 per week.

Or are the Repugs backing off from their 47% figure?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:33 AM

5. The Heritage Foundation?

They do good work, Obamacare is based on concepts that originated in the Heritage Foundation and were originally implemented in Romneycare.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:04 AM

7. The do garbage 'work". They are one of the worst of the right wing 'think tanks'.

I have no idea on earth why you would think that "They do good work", when even a casual familiarity with the orginization would tell you that they are now, even before leadership at Heritage changes next month, always have been nothing but a dishonest right wing mouth-piece.

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Response to 1-Old-Man (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:15 AM

9. You are so correct. nt

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Response to 1-Old-Man (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:16 AM

10. Obamacare is based on a concept originally conceived at the Heritage Foundation

You know, the individual mandate for private insurance.

If Heritage Foundation ideas are so bad then why did Obama pick one of them to implement as the core of one of the most sweeping changes in modern history?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:27 AM

12. Because he was trying to capitulate to the GOP position instantly hoping they'd pass it right away?

Or how about because he didn't have the guts to start the negotiations on the left wing position of Single Payer so that when he finally did compromise, it would have come all the way back to a public option and been viewed as a major concession versus the original idea?

He picked a bad plan. That's why it's been so embattled in the courts. The legality of most of it is questionable.

The fact that you think the SUPER FAR RIGHT WING Heritage Foundation does Good Work makes me wonder about what other third way bullshit you buy into.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:28 AM

13. Because by his own admission...

before America lost its mind...Barack Obama would have been a "moderate Republican."

We have a president who to my great chagrin likes some RW ideas.

Context: http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/obama-considered-moderate-republican-1980s/story?id=17973080#.UMx6XXfNp8E

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:37 AM

19. Basically because he thought that it was a measure he could get through the Republican Congress

He figured that since it was a Republican plan, the Republicans would support it. It was blindingly obvious that the best course, a single payer plan such as the British NHS or Health Canada or the system they have in Germany, would never fly -- after all, to a conservative, what is more important, affordable health coverage for the American people or the profits of the health insurance companies?

No, he went for what he thought he could get. Politics, the art of the possible.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:39 AM

20. Because it was the only way

it would pass the GOP Congress. In fact, it has a built-in doomsday machine and that is that every penny paid in will result in a profit for insurance companies, guaranteeing that the total cost of our health system will be higher, the efficiency lower and the outcomes worse.

In order to get anything through conservatives in the country you have to make it so bad that even the dumbest Fox News viewers see it for what it actually is. And we're not there yet.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:32 AM

16. The Heritage Foundation would propose something along the lines of 'if you get sick, die quickly'

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:48 AM

6. Ah, our friends at the Heritage Foundation

I would simply change two words, were I the author. A "which" for a "who" and an "its" for a "his."

"This one originated with the work of an analyst at the Heritage Foundation which is well known for its intellectual dishonesty."

Actually, I think intellectual dishonesty is a requirement for a job there.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:14 AM

8. Of Course, The Data Won't Be Included In The Narrative

$168 a day? $1176 per week? More than $61k per year for folks on welfare? No way.

The day someone shows me the data that supports that, i'll listen. Until then, i will assume them to be liars. Not someone making an error. Someone willfully lying.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:22 AM

11. Did it also include welfare for the wealthy? You know, tax loopholes only the wealthy can afford. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:21 AM

26. Great Add, Valerie

I had not considered that. I doubt it though. I think they're made up numbers to make an anti-welfare point.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:30 AM

14. Thank you for this article, xchrom.

I tripped over this lie yesterday as I was investigating a "family and justice" organization and I couldn't figure out what the hell they were up to. Oh, and the Orwellian names some of these orgs use: family and justice; if your family looks like Ward, June, the Beaver, and Wally and if by justice you mean everyone "knows their god-given place" in the world and "behaves" themselves.

Anyway, it's nice to have the background at hand.

Thanks.

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Response to Cerridwen (Reply #14)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:34 AM

17. ...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:36 AM

18. Author Robert Rector has a long history of mendacity

He's an avowed atheist* who has spoken publicly on the desperate need for religion in the lives of America's children -- especially via prayer in school, doncha know?

He has a real genius for diving into a large pool of loosely connected numbers, multiplying and dividing them, and coming up with, guess what, "all this spending on wealthy "poor" people" is bankrupting the nation and taxing it's good (mostly white) people into the ground" -- or something along those lines.

*He was avowed when I knew him, but that was before the Heritage Foundation (founded in 1973 to combat Richard Nixon's " embrace of the liberal consensus", and twisting facts and truth into right wing talking points ever since) discovered his genius for complicated mendacity and hired him.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:59 AM

21. Even if the myth were true (welfare spending per household more than income), does that mean

the problem is the welfare spending? Or is the problem the income of the majority of Americans, because of the Great Divide in income in America now?

Or would it also be a natural occurrence of the Repubican-caused Great Recession? Income per household took a nosedive, of course, as companies instituted pay cuts or salary freezes, and millions were laid off....at the same time throwing many of those people into the system to seek food stamps or other assistance.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:03 AM

22. yet another opportunity to attack poor people.

I have dis associated myself from several former friends who have expressed their disdain of poor people. this is hate speech and this is what must be stopped. as long as there are 60 million asshole republiscumbaggers who eat this shit up, it wiill continue. I am looking forward to the day there arent enough low IQ people , bigots, and hate filled sociopaths to support this agenda

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:07 AM

23. I have watched this hate movement grow for 32 years since reagon used the technique

and the grotesque insatiable consumerism that he engendered among what was once a well intentioned populace.
This is the result of his condemnation of the poor. This is his legacy, hate speech.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:10 AM

24. Add him to your deck of "Conservative flashcards".

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 12:35 PM

25. The important part is how to puncture the lie

The short version is that they got their $1 trillion figure by lumping together everything that could conceivably be described as "means-tested," including many programs designed to benefit the middle class and many grants to colleges with more than the average number of low-income students or to small rural communities.

Then then divided that total -- the greatest part of which benefits people who are not poor -- only by the number of people living below the poverty level.

Garbage in, garbage out.

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Response to starroute (Reply #25)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:48 AM

27. Thank you. The article explains it in more words.

The excerpt did not touch it.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 02:13 AM

28. Kicking and Reccing

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