As most Americans spent the weekend celebrating our exceptional nation, and those who sacrificed everything to protect its freedoms and opportunities, Democrats like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris crisscrossed the country, denouncing the very system that has given hope and opportunity to millions over the past two centuries.
Instead of embracing our free enterprise system, Democrats are pushing greater government control of our economy and our lives, complete with higher taxes and regulatory regimes that will undermine our liberty and do nothing to solve the nation’s problems.
At the same time, they ignore the tough issues, like why our public schools are such a disaster for minority kids even though we spend more per pupil than almost any other country, or why spending a trillion dollars each year on welfare and health-related benefits for low-income Americans is not moving the needle on poverty.
Democrats are not interested in reforming our schools or our welfare system. Instead, they want to convince Americans that they are victims – of greedy corporations, of racism, of sexism, and, ultimately, of an economic system that “unfairly” picks winners and losers.
Even though paying women differently for equal work has been illegal since 1963, Kamala Harris is proposing a giant new compliance regimen that would require any company with over 100 workers to obtain an “equal pay certification” every two years.
It is a profound and sinister message that inevitably herds us onto the road to socialism which is, indeed, where we are heading today.
Democrats’ message that free market capitalism can’t work for everyone is offensive. Even more obnoxious is that the candidates misrepresent the truth in order to make their case. They know better.
For instance, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recently issued a report which consciously exaggerates the retirement position of senior Americans, stating that nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. households aged 55 and over in 2016 “had no retirement savings.” That is simply not true, as Andrew Biggs points out in Forbes.
The report “excludes anyone who has only a traditional defined benefit pension. If we count both retirement accounts and traditional pensions, 72 percent of households aged 55 and over have retirement savings. That’s up from only 64 percent in 1989 – so things are getting better, not worse.” That important clarification was eliminated, of course, in the media’s coverage of the report.
Bernie Sanders jumped on the GAO findings, tweeting “That is unacceptable. We must create an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few.” He is pushing for higher taxes to plump up Social Security benefits. Who cares about the facts?
Or, let’s consider the notorious “pay gap” between men and women. The claim by Kamala Harris and others that women are paid less than men for equal work has been debunked often. But, since it lives on as a way to woo female voters, it is important to explain how the “gap” is calculated and why it is a bogus statistic.
There are plenty of Americans who are struggling. Most do not need or want a government hand-out, but rather an unobstructed shot at the brass ring.
As an article posted by the Foundation for Economic Education points out, the statistic derives from taking all the income reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for men in a given year, dividing it by the number of male workers, and doing the same for women.
This gross calculation finds that men on average are paid 20 percent more. But, the BLS data also reveals that men work longer days on average (8.05 hours per day in 2017 vs. 7.24 for women) and it does not take into consideration the different jobs held by men and women.
It also does not factor in the choices women make – choices that economists pushing an agenda ignore but any working mother will understand.
A Harvard study of union workers in Boston found that despite rigid rules governing pay and seniority, women took home less money. They traced the differences to the appetite for taking on overtime work and the number of personal days taken, and found those choices especially influenced by parenthood. It is a wonder that such an important element in women’s lives as taking care of children is so often suppressed by those presuming to care about the welfare of females.
Even though paying women differently for equal work has been illegal since 1963, Kamala Harris is proposing a giant new compliance regimen that would require any company with over 100 workers to obtain an “equal pay certification” every two years. This is the kind of expensive and complicated regulatory boondoggle that so suppressed business optimism and investment under President Obama.
This approach may help Harris distinguish herself in a crowded field, but it is unlikely to improve anyone’s life.
Income inequality remains a central campaign theme for Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as well, even though the work that so ignited indignation on the topic --Thomas Piketty’s book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” -- was discovered to be riddled with consequential errors.
An analysis by the Financial Times concluded that the celebrated author, who asserted that the wealth gap was returning to historic highs, “got his sums wrong.” The F.T. wrote “The investigation [indicates] there is little evidence in Prof Piketty’s original sources to bear out the thesis that an increasing share of total wealth is held by the richest few.”
That assessment hasn’t stopped Warren and Sanders from proposing massive tax increases to solve a problem that has yet to be realistically defined.
There are plenty of Americans who are struggling. Most do not need or want a government hand-out, but rather an unobstructed shot at the brass ring. That starts with a decent education, which too few receive. Voters should demand that Democratic candidates explain how they are going to fix that problem. Taking on the anti-reform teachers unions? Now that would truly be a way to stand out.