I come from a small
town hamlet in upstate New York that’s both very white and very blue collar. It’s the kind of place where every family owns a gun, and, as we discovered when a major flash flood wiped out our road in 2004, at least one ATV. As you’d expect, my neighbors lean strongly libertarian, though many are quite socially conservative. While it’s been a long time since I’ve lived there, Facebook connections remind me regularly of my town’s prevailing political/economical sentiment: that all our financial problems could be solved, if only the fraudulent money-grabbers were given fewer handouts. Because these handouts cost trillions. And also our freedom.
Enter The Economist, the
communist, propagandist rag traditionally conservative magazine, to thoroughly debunk that claim. Quoting from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
People who are neither elderly nor disabled — and do not live in a working household — received only 9 percent of [entitlement] benefits. Moreover, the vast bulk of that 9 percent goes for medical care, unemployment insurance benefits (which individuals must have a significant work history to receive), Social Security survivor benefits for the children and spouses of deceased workers, and Social Security benefits for retirees between ages 62 and 64. Seven out of the 9 percentage points go for one of these four purposes.
As John Adams once said (as pointed out by a commenter on the article), “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
But I’m not optimistic that facts have any bearing on my townsfolk’s politics these days.