Former Republican Presidential hopeful and current congresswoman Michele Bachmann was invited to speak at CPAC. Bachmann's worldview is the same worldview that is shared on my Facebook feed all the time. She says things that are instantly repeated by some Republicans, as fact.
So, how does Michele Bachmann see the world?
Well, she believes that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation, but oh well, I'll skip that. But Bachmann believes that 70% of food stamp funding goes to bureaucrats. She said, "of every dollar that you hold in your hands, 70 cents of that dollar that's supposed to go to the poor doesn't. It actually goes to benefit the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Seventy cents on the dollar. That's how the president's caring works in practice. So three dollars in food stamps for the needy, seven dollars in salaries and pensions for the bureaucrats who are supposed to be taking care of the poor. So with all due respect, I ask you, how does this show that our president cares about the poor?"
So, in her world bureaurcrats are lining their pockets with the poney that is supposed to be for the poor. This is a popular view among Republicans and Conservatives that bureaucrats are just getting rich while us hard-working Americans are getting poor. PolitiFact investigated this claim. Their findings:
In 2012, the Food and Nutrition Service spent about $112 billion, not only for food stamps but for other smaller nutritional programs. They spent about $136.5 million on administration. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities came up with about 5% being spent on administration. PolitiFact found that if you include pensions, you can bring it up a little higher but still well short of 70%.
The study that she likely got it from, showed that the money used to help the poor would be payments to the non-poor for assistance of the poor, for example Medicaid payments going to doctors, housing subsidies going to landlords. This doesn't apply to food stamps.
Why would she read the footnote or look into something further if she reads something that she agrees with? Bachmann's comments are going to make Republicans beam with pride about those fat cat bureaucrats pocketing money from the poor despite the fact that it's not as true as you'd like it to be. But Bachmann and others like her want you to hear it, so you associate it with it being true. When people say claims like this that are not true you can see into how they view the world. Bachmann obviously wants this claim to be true and there are a number of people who want it to be true. It doesn't make it true.
What else is going on in the world of Michele Bachmann?
According to Bachmann, we could have a cure to Alzheimer's disease in 10 years if we put our mind to it. What's stopping us? the "government, proclaiming to care so much, has created a cadre of overzealous regulators, excessive taxation and greedy litigators. That's not caring. It's time we care."
Interesting. Another one that certainly appeals to people. Well, only if it was true. PolitiFact investigated this claim, too. "The only thing keeping us from developing successful treatments for Alzheimer's disease is the lack of adequate funding for research from NIH and other federal agencies," said Robert A. Stern, a neurologist and neurosurgeon, as well as a director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the Boston University School of Medicine. "That has nothing to do with her naive and scary statements. It only has to do with Congress deciding that it is worth spending money on." So, this is pretty much the exact opposite of what Bachmann would advocate for, MORE government spending. You're telling me that government spending on health related issues might help? Crazy.
The other problem is that scientists aren't really sure what causes Alzheimer's. There's not really a clinical trial that can interventions and cures within a reasonable timeframe.
It should be noted that other diseases might show that there are some overzealous regulation or litigation stopping it, but it's unclear which diseases those might be.
This is another popular notion but the factos Bachmann cites is not a factor in determining a cure for Alzheimer's, presently. In Bachmann's world, there is a bloated federal government stopping us from discovering cures to diseases that plague us. But in reality, scientists want more funding to research it.
So what have we learned?
Bachmann and others believe that the government is intervening in our lives to the point where the poor are being taken advantage of and we're being prevented from having cures to diseases. If only we curtailed regulation and cut the bureaucracy, this would simply solve the problems. Unfortunately, this isn't the truth.