A column headlined “Core Competency: Read Please and Wake Up America!” has circulated on Facebook.
The “Core Competency” column making the rounds on Facebook recycles old claims. Some of were previously debunked, and others have been proven true.
It’s not clear where the commentary originated. Nevertheless, we’ll take a look at some of the “Core Competency” claims below.
This claim is very similar to a false rumor we investigated in 2014. Eleven states had more people on welfare than in the workforce in that version. But we found it to be false.
The “Core Competency” column’s claims also miss the mark. There’s no doubt that economic circumstances have been tough in these 10 states: California, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Maine and South Carolina. But in states we evaluated, there were many more people employed than on welfare.
In New Mexico, for example, nearly one-third of the state qualified for Medicaid in recent years. Some might consider the state-federal health program a form of welfare. And 21.3 percent of people in New Mexico had incomes below the federal poverty line in 2015, which could make them eligible for various forms of assistance. Also, the unemployment rate was 6.5 percent — and some 25 percent of the unemployed claimed unemployment insurance.
There’s only one way for the argument to make sense. That would be count Medicare as a form of welfare (nearly half of New Mexico’s population was on Medicare or Medicaid by 2015). However, it’s safe to assume that people older than 65 who have aged into Medicare would not consider it a form of welfare.
We’re not going to look at all 10 states in the list. However, given our findings in New Mexico, and our previous research, we’re deeming this one “fiction.”
This is another rumor that we previously investigated. This one turned out to be true. The figure is based on a Senate Budget Committee report that included food stamps, housing support, childcare, medicaid and other government benefits:
“Based on data from the Congressional Research Service, cumulative spending on means-tested federal welfare programs, if converted into cash, would equal $167.65 per day per household living below the poverty level. By comparison, the median household income in 2011 of $50,054 equals $137.13 per day. Additionally, spending on federal welfare benefits, if converted into cash payments, equals enough to provide $30.60 per hour, 40 hours per week, to each household living below poverty.
Claims that just 8 percent of President Obama’s cabinet member had prior private-sector experience have been circulating since 2009. But those numbers are badly skewed.
It all started with a Forbes report in November 2009 under the headline, “Obama’s Business Blind Spot.” The report concluded that just 8 percent of Obama’s cabinet members had private sector experience — far less than other presidencies.
However, the author considered a narrow selection of cabinet appointees: secretaries of state, commerce, treasury, agriculture, interior, labor, transportation, energy and housing and urban development. And looking at Obama’s appointees to the position at the time, it becomes clear that more than 8 percent of them worked in the private sector.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton worked in private law (a source of controversy) before entering politics. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geitner started his career with Kissinger Associates, a private firm in Washington, D.C. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack practiced law at a private firm before entering politics. Energy Secretary Steven Chew was a noted physicist at Bell Labs before his appointment. So, clearly, more than 8 percent of Obama’s cabinet had private-sector experience.
And glancing at a list of President Trump’s cabinet appointments, claims that 90 percent of them have private sector experience seems about right. That’s only if military service counts as private sector experience, however.
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