Sunday, January 26, 2014

George Will Provides A Lesson On How To Earn A Living Writing Op-Eds

This article by George Will illustrates what you can do to become a successful op-ed writer and TV news show guest.  The Washington Post provides this platform to demonstrate his skills.  His opinion pieces are widely syndicated to small town newspapers throughout the country.

This article is entitled The Political Exhibitionism of the State of the Union.  The first two paragraphs tell us that he does like the State of the Union show and that both parties abuse the opportunity.  Apparently, that establishes his objectivity and bipartisanship.  He then proceeds to the real purpose of the article.  He tells us what President Obama will promote in his address this Tuesday and he tells his audience what they should think about the programs that the president will propose to address the problem of inequality.  He is going to talk about inequality to take our attention away from the "inconvenient" failure of the Affordable Care Act.  (The use of "inconvenient" is also a reference to Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" which has become a derogatory term among conservatives)

He explains that the president will propose funding for pre-school education but, that the real purpose of the program is to provide jobs for certified teachers so that they can pay dues to the Teachers Union that are used to fund Democratic campaigns.  Moreover, preschool education doesn't work.  He proves this by citing one study, out of hundreds of studies, that concludes that the positive effects disappear by third grade. He then explains that a study from George Mason University proves that all of the studies that show an enduring effect are methodologically flawed.  (The Op-Ed writer gets to pick the research needed to support a point and conservative think tanks like George Mason are eager to provide the ammunition)

He then tells us the president will propose a raise in the minimum wage. The minimum wage won't reduce inequality, however, because most of the money goes to households that are above that are flush with cash.  There are hundreds of studies about the effect of the minimum wage on income inequality.  George Will is writing the article so he gets to select the data that he wants to report.

The president will also propose a plan to increase access to college.  He compares increasing college enrollments to the government's mistake when it encouraged those who could not afford mortgages to purchase homes.  That caused the financial crisis and increasing access to college for students who can't learn will only turn out more graduates who are unable to get jobs.  The government subsidies will only encourage colleges to raise prices.

Will ends his attack on the president's coming State of the Union address, disguised as a general attack on the use of the State of the Union address, by putting a stamp of approval by the Supreme Court on his critique.  He refers to three of the conservative justices on the Supreme Court who don't like to attend these events. Justice Scalia was one of the judges who he mentioned.  He did not mention that Justice Scalia refuses to read the Washington Post because he thinks that it is too liberal.  This tells us a lot about Justice Scalia.  He thinks that a paper that employs George Will, Robert Samuelson, Charles Krauthammer,  and a host of other conservative reporters is too liberal.

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