Part of our work here at the Northwest Progressive Institute is to provide you, our readers, and fellow progressive activists with information that can be used to counter the
talking points lies, half-truths, and deception parroted by conservative talk radio hosts, talking heads and political operatives. Here are two cases where the truth is entirely different than the right wing’s talking points.
Myth #1: If government cuts taxes on business, the savings will be passed on to customers.
This mantra has been part of the holy canon of conservative ideology for the past thirty years. However, just because they keep saying it doesn’t make it true. For example, on July 23rd, a number of aviation taxes expired when Congress failed to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.
So by conservative logic, now that the taxes have expired, the price of an airline ticket should be dropping, giving frequent fliers a price break.
Unfortunately, the opposite happened and greedy airlines reaped the windfall.
Several aviation taxes expired after midnight Friday when Congress failed to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, which collects the revenue. The suspended taxes could save passengers 10% to 15% on their ticket prices, but most U.S. carriers have boosted fares to the levels ticket prices would have been with the taxes still in place, allowing the airlines to take in roughly an extra $25 million a day, says Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com.
The bottom line: When corporations have to choose between giving their customers a break and padding their profits, they can be counted upon to go with the latter option. It’s happened time and time again.
Myth #2: Unemployed workers will simply use up their benefits rather than look for jobs because they don’t want to work.
With the Great Recession and economic downturn claiming over 14 million jobs nationwide, many find themselves out of work and trying to survive on unemployment benefits.
As if losing their jobs isn’t enough, they are subjected to derision by conservatives who call them lazy and say they don’t really want jobs because they’re collecting benefits. Never mind that the benefits have been legally earned, or being used for the purpose for which they were intended.
Such details are trivialities to the self-righteous conservative. The false stereotype they’ve invented comes straight from the pages of the 1980s playbook of Reagan conservatives (welfare queens, anyone?).
However — as with the previous myth — this one is also untrue.
The Washington State Employment Security Department recently surveyed 30,000 exhaustees (unemployed workers who have run out of benefits). The survey was sent to anyone who had run out of unemployment benefits since November 2009, with over 5,000 people responding.
Only about 25 percent of those who responded to the survey had found work. Most of these said they used online resources and networking to find their jobs.
Of the exhaustees responding to the survey who have not found work, more than 86 percent were still looking for work, and nearly half said age is their greatest barrier to finding work.
Survey results of particular interest include the following:
- Nearly 90 percent (3,942 of 4,451 respondents) of respondents said they visited a WorkSource office during their unemployment benefits claim period.
- More than 46 percent (392 of 847 respondents) of reemployed exhaustees found WorkSource services helpful in finding employment.
- Reemployed exhaustees cited résumé assistance, job-search help, use of office equipment and classes as some of the most helpful WorkSource services.
- One in 12 exhaustees who have not found work cited lack of education or skills as his or her greatest barrier to finding employment.
75% of those who ran out of benefits were still out of work as of the date of the survey, and many of the exhaustees were eligible for 99 weeks of benefits. Given the numbers of people visiting WorkSource offices and utilizing available services, the issue is not the lack of desire for employment but rather the lack of jobs available.