Fact Checking Rubio

February 18th, 2010 at 2:09 pm David Frum | 11 Comments |

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Marco Rubio delivered a stirring testament to the American dream in his CPAC speech.

But in his efforts to claim that the United States was the only place on earth where people could rise from poverty, he plunged into enthusiastic overstatement. The sad fact is that as best we can measure, present-day America offers less upward mobility than many other advanced countries, including Denmark, Germany, Canada and Australia. In fact, among all OECD countries, the U.S. lags toward the back of the pack, barely ahead of supposedly class-bound Britain.

This information should not be shocking to conservatives. After all, it is conservatives who most emphasize the poor quality of U.S. schools and who have delivered the sharpest warnings about immigration policies that favor low-skilled immigrants.

And yet when it comes time to make speeches, we forget what we know. How can you solve problems if you won’t notice them – or can’t remember them even if you do notice them?

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • JeninCT

    Perhaps he should have said that the United States was the only place on earth where people could illegally cross the border into, and then rise from poverty.” Unfortunately, that’s still true here, but not in Denmark, Germany, Canada and Australia.

  • GOProud

    Former Democrat Prez nominee George McGovern: “If we give every person in America who is poor $1000/yr, we can end poverty today.” -June 4, 1972.

    That notion gave rise to the Earned Income Credit –which still hasn’t “fixed” poverty.

    Why can’t we be big boys and admit we can’t end poverty, we can’t end homelessness, we can’t make all people happy. Nor should be keep trying.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/cross_tabs/2008/05/no_wonder_george_mcgovern_like.html

    “Obama offered up this proposal last night in Montana. ‘Americans need real relief, Obama said, saying he will pass a law to give each family $1,000 a year to help them pay for higher gas prices and other rising costs.’ Shades of McGovern’s 1972 proposal to give every family $1000 except that Obama has neglected to adjust for inflation.”

    farLeft Democrats can’t think of a new idea even if they take 35 yrs to do it.

  • Jim_M

    Is it November yet?

    Jim

  • JonF

    Re: we can’t end poverty, we can’t end homelessness, we can’t make all people happy. Nor should be keep trying.

    We also can’t end terrorism, pervent drunk driving, or cure all fatal diseases. Perhaps we should give up our efforts in those areas too? Heck, why bother with abortion– we’ll never be able to stop 100% of all abortions. For that matter, let’s repeal the laws against murder and disband the homocide units since they too are not perfectly effective.

  • JeninCT

    JonF,
    Re: we can’t end poverty, we can’t end homelessness, we can’t make all people happy. Nor should be keep trying.

    I think the point of that comment was that the way we’ve been trying to solve the problem of poverty isn’t working. We need to find other ways. Throwing money at any given situation doesn’t necessarily make it better, it often only makes it cost more.

  • mickster99

    DavidF (or anyone else), if you were a Republican president with a large majority controlling the House or Representatives and say 60+ Republican senators what would be your legislative agenda to put a conservative agenda for smaller government, lower taxes, elimination of waste, etc into effect in the U.S.?

  • franco 2

    None of these countries has the burden of a large isolated dependent group that has been marginalized and co-opted by one party (Democrats). This skews the report. If you examined white people and other immigrants absent the black community, USA would be #1.

    Since black folks(who are only about 12% of the US population) vote 95% for Democrats, it isn’t an issue for Republicans any more. Republicans need not bother with outreach to people who summarily reject them in hopes of gaining miniscule number of votes. Until Blacks begin to understand that they need to come to the table to participate, Republicans should continue to ignore them.

  • Eunomia » Pushback

    [...] of a cocktail napkin can one day be publicly traded on Wall Street.” This gave David Frum an easy opening to observe: The sad fact is that as best we can measure, present-day America offers less upward [...]

  • ratgov

    franco 2, that seems like a remarkably racist statement. Do you have some facts to back your “we’re just be held back by the negros” theory?

  • ratgov

    I was wondering about this statement in Frum’s article:

    “This information should not be shocking to conservatives. After all, it is conservatives who most emphasize the poor quality of U.S. schools”

    The standard conservative approach to the school quality issue seems to be vouchers. I don’t think that the countries Frum lists have a voucher system, so taking voucher’s out of the equation, what is the conservative approach to improving school quality to match (Denmark, Germany, Canada and Australia)?

  • sinz54

    mickster99: if you were a Republican president with a large majority controlling the House or Representatives and say 60+ Republican senators what would be your legislative agenda to put a conservative agenda for smaller government, lower taxes, elimination of waste, etc into effect in the U.S.?
    Could I answer?

    1. Develop legislation along the lines of the Paul Ryan plan, to begin to rein in the soaring cost of Medicare.

    2. Recognize that it’s health CARE that’s becoming more expensive, not insurer profits. Even not-for-profit insurers (which the Obama administration doesn’t even know exist)
    http://tinyurl.com/y8m85zn
    have been forced to raise premiums.
    And so we need to change how health CARE is done in this country.

    We need to streamline hospital operations, minimizing paperwork and human error. Doctors at a major MA hospital told me that over half their workload is paperwork. There’s no reason why every hospital room can’t have a “Star Trek diagnostic bed” in which readings are taken and automatically entered into the hospital’s computer, without nurses having to transcribe them with pen and ink (with all the potential for human error that involves). All medical tests and instruments should automatically transmit their results to the hospital’s computer. There’s no reason why you can’t have an ID card with a chip in it that records your entire medical history. Go anywhere in America, swipe the card through the reader, and that hospital has instant access to your medical history.With secure videoconferencing, a physician at a hospital can discuss your case (with your permission) with any other physicians in any other hospital in America, while you wait.

    3. We need a much greater focus on wellness and on research into curing chronic illness. Michelle Obama is right about that. There’s nothing “conservative” about sitting in front of the TV all day munching on salty and fatty potato chips while your belly gets so big it looks like you’re 8 months pregnant. A definitive cure for Alzheimer’s alone would save billions of dollars in health care costs. The NIH budget for research into chronic illnesses should be doubled.

    4. The Department of Education should be severely downscoped. Turn its funds into block grants to the states.

    5. Let’s invest in a new generation of safe, reliable nuclear reactors, and tell GreenPeace to go bother some other country with their agrarian visions of small family farms.