10 Inconvenient Facts Both Parties Love To Ignore
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to watch MSNBC or Fox News, you’re probably aware that politics causes people to say some pretty dumb things. But did you know political belief has been scientifically linked to blind irrationality? It’s true: Partisan people will always ignore evidence if it goes directly against their beliefs, no matter how difficult the mental gymnastics involved. Don’t believe me? Here are 10 basic facts guaranteed to send die-hard liberals and GOP stalwarts into a froth of irrationality.
10 The Public Supports Obamacare
Depending on your point of view, the Affordable Care Act is either a tentative first step toward bringing American healthcare in line with the rest of the Western world or an apocalyptic assault on freedom that will destroy the Constitution. If you’re a Republican congressman, you probably believe the latter: Since it was first proposed, the GOP has been determined to destroy Obamacare—even going so far as to actually break the government in a doomed attempt to stop it. But all these shenanigans have missed out one important point: The public are behind the Prez on this one.
Prior to the shutdown, the Huffington Post rounded up all the current opinion polls regarding the act, and found a majority were consistently against defunding it. Now, this doesn’t mean voters weren’t concerned about its possible impact, but it does mean they weren’t interested in seeing the economy nearly destroyed in a fight over its funding. Had the Republicans taken a moment to actually read the opinion polls, they wouldn’t now find themselves hitting a historic ratings low on the back of their epic shutdown fail.
9MSNBC Is More Opinionated Than Fox
Ask anyone what the dumbest news channel is, and they’ll probably tell you “Fox!” It’s a national joke of a channel—a newsroom so unbelievably biased and unreliable that most liberals will smugly refuse to even call it “news.” So it can come as a surprise to learn that pro-Democrat MSNBC is objectively more opinionated.
Late last year, the respected Pew Research Center analyzed the number of factual stories versus opinion stories across the big cable channels. Unsurprisingly, Fox performed pretty badly, with over half of its stories being opinion dressed up as news. But MSNBC failed miserably: According to the study, a whopping 85 percent of the channel’s “news” output consisted of opinion pieces. So yeah, according to expert analysis, MSNBC is actually more biased than even Fox.
8Liberal Bias Is Real
While we’re on the subject of bias, let’s talk about “liberal bias”—a seeming conspiracy theory that states most media is naturally weighted toward the Democrats. It’s usually associated with Tea Partiers, paranoid Patriot types and people who are kinda stupid—but it might be real.
In 2004, two researchers decided to compute the liberal or conservative bias of all major news outlets. After some complex calculations, they assigned each outlet a score out of 100 (where 100 meant “very liberal” and 0 meant “very conservative”) and compared the results. Their (admittedly widely criticized) conclusions were simple: Out of 20 major outlets, only two scored lower than 50. That means only two showed a consistent right-wing bias, compared to three center-left outlets and 15 liberally biased ones. Basically, almost the entire media (talk radio excepted) was demonstrably in thrall to the Democrats.
7Immigration Is Good For The Country
One of the hallmarks of modern conservatism is a sharp distrust of immigration. Across the country, Republicans and conservative pundits do their best to paint a picture of immigrants as lazy law-breakers who are costing taxpayers zillions of dollars. But this image isn’t just rude and vaguely racist, it also ignores the reams of evidence suggesting immigration is boosting the economy.
In 2010, the UCLA released a study that concluded a mass amnesty for illegals would boost GDP by up to $1.5 trillion. That’s more than Washington spends on defense each year. In case anyone is thinking that the liberal UCLA can’t be trusted on this issue, in 2012 the right-wing libertarian Cato Institute repeated the study and reached the same conclusions.
Now, some conservatives might be thinking something along the lines of “so what? There’s more to the issue than GDP. What about crime?” Well, I’m here to tell you that the immigration-crime link is also a myth. Study after study has demonstrated that immigration to an area often has either no effect on crime, or actually reduces it. In short, this is one sacred cow of Republican policy that just needs to get on and die.
6 Higher Taxes Benefit The Economy
Sticking with the GOP for a moment, the other policy that can count on support across all red states is the lowering of taxes. Reagan’s tax cuts remain one of the most popular policies ever enacted, and even the recent piffling rise to a top rate of 39.6 percent was met with howls of indignation. With such passionate support, lower taxes must surely be of some benefit to the economy, right?
Nope. If you plot the history of the top rate in American society, you find a sharp rise almost always corresponds to a boom, while a cut signals a recession. The Roaring Twenties, the post-war boom and Clinton’s balancing of the books all were preceded by a tax hike; while the Wall Street Crash, the stagflation of the ’70s, and the current recession were all heralded by drastic cuts. At the height of the post-war boom, when the economy was like an unstoppable juggernaut, the top rate fluctuated between an eye-watering 91 and 94 percent. This was in a boom that lasted nearly two decades, suggesting at the very least that high taxes in no way damage an economy. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of evidence suggesting deep tax cuts create a brief, unsustainable high that results in a crippling recession. In other words, this aspect of Republican fiscal policy is plain wrong. But there are other areas where they’re closer to the mark.
5 Minimum Wage Hikes Cause Youth Unemployment
On the surface, the minimum wage seems like a great idea: Paying people a decent amount for a decent day’s work ensures a sort of dignity impossible in a free-for-all economy. And historically, it has worked—at least for a while. However, in our modern, globally competitive world, minimum wage hikes have only one outcome: maximum unemployment.
In 2008, two researchers used sophisticated techniques to measure minimum wage increases against youth employment. They found that for every 10 percent the minimum wage increased, youth employment fell by 3.2 percent. In other words, the increased demands on employers were causing them to hire less young workers. Frighteningly, the study authors also implied most investigations into the issue tend to severely underestimate the negative impact on jobs. In the UK, the government’s Low Pay Commission made a similar claim last year, arguing that a high minimum wage would cause even further damage to the spiraling youth unemployment figures. This was backed up by their 2005 figures, which claimed 37 percent of low-wage employers had cut staffing levels following a 2003 hike, while 31 percent had reduced their employees’ hours. In short, a too-generous minimum wage can apparently be a dangerous thing.
4Conservatives Have Lost The Abortion Debate
The abortion debate is one of the most vitriolic, polarized debates in mainstream politics. Turn on the news on any given day or listen to a pundit from either side and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the focal point of the culture wars, with hard-line Christian Republicans just a vote or two away from overturning Roe v. Wade. However, the truth is far less friendly to the religious right: According to just about every poll, conservatives have lost the abortion debate.
Earlier this year, both Gallup and Pew released the results of their “Roe v. Wade at 40” polls. By a vast majority, most Americans opposed overturning the ruling and preferred to see abortion legal. What’s striking about this is that Gallup’s own research actually reveals more people will describe themselves as “pro-life” than “pro-choice.” Yet, when asked if first trimester abortion should be legal, 61 percent replied “yes.” Similar levels of support have been reported for nearly half a century now. At 40 years, I think it’s fair to say the religious right have comprehensively lost on Roe v. Wade.
3Democrats Have Become The Party Of Torture
If you were to ask most liberals to describe their beliefs, issues like human rights and the plight of disadvantaged people would probably play a big part. But modern, pro-Obama democrats have apparently forgotten all this. In fact, they’re currently defending a party that has become so enamored of torture, surveillance, and repression that it would impress Vladimir Putin.
Right now, the touchy-feely, sunshine-and-pixie-dust Democrats are overseeing the largest mass surveillance of innocent people in Western history—an extension of the same policy they hounded the Republicans for implementing. They’ve refused to close Guantanamo Bay, despite the horrific allegations of torture, human rights abuses, and reports of sexual abuse emanating from the notorious prison camp. They’ve become the party of drone strikes and domestic spying, with Tea Partiers like Rand Paul basically taking the Democrat initiative on stuff like drones and throwing it back in their faces. They’ve done everything they once hated Bush for doing and then made it worse—but it no longer seems to matter because now “their team” is in charge. The Republicans may have become the party of clueless ideologues, but the Democrats have sold their souls.
2Conservatives Have Also Lost The Gay Marriage Debate
Not so long ago, even the woolliest liberal wouldn’t dream of publicly advocating something like gay marriage. But times have changed. On ground that was once a guaranteed vote-winner for Republicans, the GOP is starting to look like a party of dinosaurs fighting against a tide of public opinion.
According to Gallup, over half of all American adults would now vote for a federal law legalizing gay marriage across all states—something that would have been unthinkable even five years ago. Acceptance of homosexuals is at an all-time high, and more and more states are moving to legislate on gay marriage. What’s specifically important about these polls is how they break down by age group: A majority of people under 55 support the idea of two guys (or gals) getting hitched, but a super-majority of people under 35 (nearly 70 percent) is down with it. This means one thing and one thing only: An LGBT-friendly USA is the future, whether you like it or not. On this issue perhaps more than any other, the Republicans are overdue admitting total, earth-shattering defeat.
1Obama Is Worse Than Nixon
After all this slaughtering of sacred cows, it’s now time to blow up the entire cattle ranch. Obama is perhaps the thing hardcore Dems love most about their party: a talented, urbane intellectual who just happens to be objectively worse than even Richard Nixon.
I kid you not: A recent study by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) found the Obama administration had pursued the most aggressive war on journalists since the Nixon years. By prosecuting more than twice the number of journalists and leakers under the Espionage Act than every single previous administration combined, the Obama White House was found to have created a climate of fear described by the CPJ as “chilling.” The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, is suing the Obama Department of Justice for shredding the Fourth Amendment. Even former Obama nuts in the liberal press have declared the President “worse than Bush” for his casual disregard of civil liberties and journalists’ rights. Yet Dems everywhere continue to paint him as some sort of cross between Gandhi and Jesus, a poor, hand-tied President who is trying his best but can’t close down Guantanamo because of those nasty Republicans. Well, I’ve got news for you guys: If the President can’t get his own way even after five years on the job—well, then let’s just say you’ve elected yourselves a pretty crappy President.