Saturday, August 11, 2018

Progressives Don't Need To Lie - The Truth Is Enough

Like other progressives, I was very happy when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortz won the Democratic primary for a U.S. House seat from New York City (The Bronx). I think she's going to make a great representative.

What I am not so happy about is what she has been saying in her trips around the country and on TV. She has been saying a couple of things that simply are not true. She says unemployment is low because "everyone has two jobs", and because people are people are "working 60, 70, 80 hours a week".

While some people do work more than one job, and some do work 60 to 80 hours a week, the statement she made is simply not true of the working population in general. The overwhelming majority of American workers only work one job. About 148 million workers have only one job, while 6-7 million have more than one job. The number of people holding more than one job has actually gone down since the 1990's (see charts above). Also, the the average number of hours worked has remained remarkably steady (see third chart).

This does not mean that American workers are not in trouble. There are far too many working for a wage that's at or near the minimum wage (not a livable wage). Also, while CEO's and other top executives have seen their salaries skyrocket under the current GOP policies, workers wages have remained stagnant (and their buying power has decreased due to inflation). The GOP policies have been bad for workers, and it's causing a shrinkage of the middle class.

There's a great case to be made for the progressive economic agenda. We do need economic policies that are fair to all Americans -- not just the rich. But lying is not going to help us accomplish that. Stretching the truth will just convince voters that progressives are as bad as right-wingers when it comes to making their case.

We're not as bad. Our economic policies will work (as has been proven in the past). All we need to do is tell the truth.

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