Jewish World Review Dec. 8, 2011 / 12 Kislev, 5772
Facts are stubborn things
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
That quotation may be among the best known in Adamsiana. Not as well known is that
He would become, in succession, Founding Father, president of
Mobs drew only his contempt, talk of democracy his suspicion. A country lawyer,
The man seemed constitutionally, congenitally, completely allergic to doing the popular thing. No wonder he was outdated in his own time, let alone how he would appear in ours, when politicians and political buffs follow the polls not just daily but hourly. He'd never have made it to the
New Englander to the core, Mr. Adams would do his duty as a member of the bar and stick to his convictions, come hell or high water or revolution, even a revolution he would lead. A thinker rather than a zealot, he refused to cut and trim his beliefs to fit the ideology of the moment.
Nothing is more offensive to ideologues than a fact that doesn't jibe with their slogans. Leading the list of those slogans at the moment is
No need to go into detail, like the fact that the grabby 1 percent, who account for 20 percent of the national income, pay 37 percent of the federal income tax.
As for the disappearing American middle class that today's protesters mourn, its death may be greatly exaggerated. The distribution of American wealth, according to Jim Pethokoukis at the
According to the Congressional Budget Office, every quintile of American income has shown a real increase in purchasing power of at least 18 percent over the past 30 years. What seems to irritate the Occupiers is not that all have grown richer, but that some have grown much richer. Their complaint is less analysis than envy.
How many times have we heard the American economy compared to a pie? The comparison usually precedes a complaint about how unequal the slices are.
But it's not how the pie is divided that determines Americans' wealth, but whether it grows -- or shrinks. It's a little embarrassing to make that elementary point once again and risk boring anybody who's had
Expropriating the rich 1 percent would scarcely benefit the other 99 percent. On the contrary, without their capital, who would create jobs and employ the rest of us?
Pat answer: The government, of course. Well, we can all see how well that's been working out. All it takes is a glance at the unemployment rate, still hovering above 8 percent after almost three years of economic stimuli that don't much stimulate.
Theories, grievances and quick fixes abound in hard times. Facts don't seem to matter as much. Yet they remain stubborn things.
Whenever talk about redistributing the wealth surfaces, and it does so regularly, I think of a story
Mr. Hardin's reply? "Now you know that once we divvied it all up, the same kind of folks would soon enough wind up with the lion's share."
Our sharecropper philosopher had an answer for that: "You don't understand, Mister Joe, we'd split it up every Sattiday night!"
Demands for redistributing America's wealth come almost as regularly as Saturday nights. The demands may vary in intensity, depending on whether the times are good or bad, but they always show the same disregard for mere fact. And facts are stubborn things.
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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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