One of the things about current politics that continually astonishes me is the profound lack of respect for reality demonstrated by so many of the people who want to be in charge of our governments.
Personally, I’m very much a liberal. I lean way towards the left-end of the political spectrum. But for the purposes of this discussion, that’s irrelevant. I’m not talking about whether people are proposing the right policy, or the right politics. What I’m concerned with is the way that the don’t seem to accept the fact that there are facts. Not everything is a matter of opinion. Some things are just undeniable facts, and you need to deal with them as they are. The fact that you don’t like them is just irrelevant. As the old saying goes, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.
I saw a particularly vivid example of this last week, but didn’t have a chance to write it up until today. Rick Perry was presenting his proposal for how to address the problems of the American economy, particularly the dreadfully high unemployment rate. He claims that his policy will, if implemented, create 2.5 million jobs over the next four years.
The problem with that, as a proposal, is that in America, due to population growth, just to break even in employment, we need to add 200,000 jobs per month – that’s how fast the pool of employable people is growing. So we need to add over two million jobs per year just to keep unemployment from rising. In other words, Perry is proposing a policy that will, according to his (probably optimistic, if he’s a typical politician) estimate, result in increasing unemployment.
This is, obviously, bad.
But here’s where he goes completely off the rails.
Chris Wallace: “But how do you answer this question? Two and a half million jobs doesn’t even keep pace with population growth. Our unemployment rate would increase under this goal.
Rick Perry: “I don’t believe that for a minute. It’s just absolutely false on its face. Americans will get back to work.”
That’s just blatant, stupid idiocy.
The employable population is growing. This is not something debatable. This is not something that you get to choose to believe or not to believe. This is just reality.
If you add 2.5 million jobs, and the population of employable workers seeking jobs grows by 4 million people, then the unemployment rate will get worse. That’s simple arithmetic. It’s not politics, it’s not debatable, and it has nothing to do with what Rick Perry, or anyone else, believes. It’s a simple fact.
The fact that a candidate for president can just wave his hands and deny reality – and that that isn’t treated as a disqualifying error – is simply shocking.