Facts belie opinion

Who am I to question Robert Reich – former U.S. labor secretary, professor of public policy at the University of California, publisher of more than a dozen books,some of which were best sellers? And I have the audacity to question him?! Yes, I do. I question him about some of the inaccurate statements he made in one of his columns, titled “Four Big Conservative Lies about Inequality.” Actually, I use the word “inaccurate” to be polite, as the statements were totally absurd.

I would like to respond to what he called, “Lie No. 3.” That’s where he made his first “inaccurate” remark and implied that Republicans say, “So we don’t need to do anything for the low and lower-middle class kids.”

Republicans may disagree with Reich on certain aspects of these issues, but certainly would not say we don’t need to do anything. For him to make such an implication is somewhat over the top. As Charlie Brown would say it, “Good Grief, Mr. Reich!”

The other statement Reich made that caught my attention was when he stated, “The truth is, we do less than nothing for poor and lower middle-class kids.” Less than nothing? I don’t even know what that means. It’s obvious how Reich feels, but “less than nothing” (whatever that means) is different than facts. The facts are clearly stated at the Centre on Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=

view&id=1258) where they say, “Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) together accounted for 22 percent of the budget in 2013, or $772 billion. Nearly two-thirds of this amount, or $498 billion, went to Medicare. The remainder of this category funds Medicaid and CHIP, which in a typical month provide health care or long-term care to about 70 million low-income children, parents, elderly people, and people with disabilities.”

And that $70 million is a little more than “less than nothing.” If Reich feels the amount we spend is not enough, he should go ahead and give some figures. But I would suggest using words that have some meaning. “Less than nothing” is meaningless.

He went on to talk about the lack of funding for our schools which, of course, is very important and it should be addressed. My concern is that he and too many others seldom, if ever, talk about any of the other major problems we have in our schools, such as lack of parental involvement, poor attitudes of students not being able to accept rules and regulations, students’ disrespect for teachers and student tardiness. If you think that I’m making this up, check it out at nces.ed.gov/pubs93/web/93149.asp.

If we do not address all of the problems we have, then we can pump all the money we want into the school system and it will do little good to solve other major problems.

Be assured I have no disrespect for Reich or anyone simply because I disagree with their point of view. He could very well be a fine gentleman. But if he and others like him (yes, on both sides of the aisle), when speaking of a problem, would address all the different aspects of the problem and not just the one that they like to talk about, we would get more accomplished.

Samuel P. Huntington said it right: “Partial truths or half-truths are often more insidious than total falsehoods.”


Frank SanGregory,