Lies from politicians aren’t anything new. We’re all used to that nowadays, and are quite familiar when they defend those lies, too.
But when a politician admits to lying, and then tries to justify it by issuing new lies? That’s a new low — and it’s resting on the feet of Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.
In the October 28 GOP debate, she said that 92 percent of the employment lost during President Obama’s first term were women’s jobs. Media corrected her, quickly pointing out the blatant falsehood of that statement. She continued defense of it, though, claiming the very next day that “liberal media doesn’t like the facts.” Just a few days later, however, Fiorina finally corrected herself, sniveling an “I misspoke” excuse to ABC News.
But even after that correction, Fiorina continued her pattern by issuing even more lies. Three of them, in fact, in the same interview.
On November 1, she told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”:
It is factually true that the number of women living in extreme poverty is at the highest rate in recorded history. It is factually true that 16.1 percent of women live below the poverty line, the highest level in 20 years. It is factually true that 3 million women have fallen into poverty.
And here are the three lies from those three sentences:
1. “…the number of women living in extreme poverty is at the highest rate in recorded history.”
Notice the trick she’s pulling when Fiorina says “numbers” instead of “percentage.” Every year, the numbers of practically everything increase pertaining to population, and because the population increases every year.
She’s still wrong, though. The number of American women living in poverty declined in 2014, according to the Census Bureau’s “Current Population Reports.” (See “Table 7: Poverty by Sex” from this link.)
Fiorina also said “highest rate” in that same sentence, though, implying calculation by percentage – and which is also wrong. That same historical data says the highest poverty rate ever recorded for American women is not the current 16.1 percent, but the 16.8 percent we hit in 1983.
That was when Reagan’s tax cuts on wealth (passed in 1981) were supposed to be “trickling down” to benefit everyone else. That was also the year Reagan increased the amount of Social Security deductions, but while still leaving an income ceiling that protected the wealthy. As a result, lower-income women were losing more of their gross income, and were knocked down to poverty as a result.
2. “…16.1 percent of women live below the poverty line, the highest level in 20 years.”
That 16.1 percent figure, which is from the last reported year of 2014, is correct. It’s not the highest level in 20 years, though. The highest poverty rate for women was 16.3 percent in 2011, which is when the Tea Party congressional takeover took effect. That year, three new jobs programs to address poverty and unemployment were blocked by the GOTea – and only because those bills were suggested by the president.
In fact, Republicans have blocked all jobs bills since 2009, including ones for veterans. And the only job bill the GOP came up themselves didn’t pertain to jobs, but only tax cuts on wealth instead, which Republicans continued to claim would create employment.
Making Fiorina’s lie smell even worse, though, is the fact that congressional Republicans blocked all bills pertaining to equal pay for women.
3. “…3 million women have fallen into poverty.”
She’s again incorrect. And confusing, too, since there’s no telling how she tried to calculate that 3-million number, or for what period.
If she meant in the last 20 years, then the number of women in poverty grew about 4.9 million. But the population was growing, too, and by 49 million. Poverty in the female population thus rose from 15.4 percent to 16.1, and that’s because of the birthrate.
If she meant since Obama took office in 2009, the growth in women in poverty is only 1.85 million. That would also be due to the birthrate – females born into poverty, not falling down into it.
If she was referring to poverty created by job loss, then Fiorina is incorrect from that angle, as well. When Obama took office, 66.5 million American women were employed; that was 1.1 million less than a year before, and because many lost their jobs when Bush’s recession started. Today, 70.3 million are employed.
That’s 3.8 million more who are earning income since 2009 (and 2.7 million more than the pre-recession number).
And if Fiorina arrived at that 3-million figure based on some calculations that say women’s income of today pays them less than they used to make, then she needs to take that up with congressional Republicans. Remember, that’s who blocked all the equal pay legislation.
Fiorina needs to start telling the truth before this quicksand trap of her lying to make up for lies pulls her down further.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr