If these reporters had winning arguments, they wouldn’t resort to misleading their audiences.
Last week, I was briefly featured in one of the major networks’ Sunday morning news programs. The main thrust of the segment was the argument that Americans aren’t doing their fair share to help families who lost their jobs during the pandemic despite a recently published report by the Brookings Institute showing, “government policy effectively countered [the pandemic’s] effects on incomes, leading poverty to fall and low percentiles of income to rise across a range of demographic groups and geographies.”
It’s true Democrats and Republicans have been unable to reach an agreement to extend enhanced pandemic-related unemployment benefits. But which party gains politically from withholding aid prior to the upcoming presidential election? Surely the Democrats.
Arguments were made during the segment that played fast and loose with the facts; the claim, for example, that 38 million people live in poverty. But that’s only true if you exclude the nearly $1 trillion annually the government spends on welfare helping people under 65 years old. (We also spend nearly $1.5 trillion on Social Security and Medicare.) The number of people living in poverty after government assistance is less than a third of those who would be living in poverty were it not for this help.
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