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Forum Post: Five Preposterous, Persistent Conservative Myths

Posted 2 years ago on April 2, 2012, 6:59 a.m. EST by Demian (497) from San Francisco, CA
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Five Preposterous, Persistent Conservative Myths by Paul Buchheit With the mainstream media in the hands of the mostly conservative wealthy, it's difficult for average Americans to learn the truth about critical issues. The following five conservative claims are examples of mythical beliefs that fall apart in the presence of inconvenient facts:

  1. Entitlements are the Problem

Beyond the fact that we're 'entitled' to Social Security and Medicare because we pay for them, these two government-run programs have been largely self-sustaining while supporting the needs of millions of Americans.

Medicare is much less costly than private health care. Social Security, which functions with a surplus, would not be in danger of a long-term shortfall if the richest 10% (those making over the $106,800 cutoff) paid their full share.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently reported that 91% of entitlements go to the elderly or disabled, or to members of working households needing supplemental assistance. Only 9% of entitlement dollars go to non-working but employable individuals, and most of that is for medical care, unemployment, and survivor benefits.

  1. Charter Schools are the Answer

Free-market adherents have a lot of people believing that the public school system needs to be 'saved' by charter schools. That belief is not supported by the facts. A Stanford University study "reveals in unmistakable terms that, in the aggregate, charter students are not faring as well as their traditional public school counterparts."

A Department of Education study found that "On average, charter middle schools that hold lotteries are neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement, behavior, and school progress."

Charter schools also take money away from the public system. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District loses nearly $7,000 in state money for each student who transfers to a charter. In Florida, the entire $55 million budgeted in 2011 for school maintenance went to charters. Governors in several states plan to direct money to schools that serve upper-middle-income families.

Furthermore, charter school teachers have fewer years of experience and a higher turnover rate, and according to one study were less like