Fox News' Bill O'Reilly spouted some interesting statistics about welfare on his show Tuesday night.
He waxed poetic about life in 1962 and wrongly boasted that only 6 percent of Americans were on "welfare." Census data shows it was actually closer to 12 percent.
But O'Reilly said families lived modestly, had fun, and appreciated what they had. He says America was "stronger" back then.
"Competition and the desire to succeed in the marketplace have made America great," O'Reilly said. "But that ethic is being eroded by a culture of 'where's mine?'"
O'Reilly’s just one of a crowd of Republicans, including Mitt Romney, who repeatedly claim President Obama is weakening America, or worse.
We call this a "zombie lie," because it keeps coming back to life. We found versions of this same rhetoric about "dependency" dating back to the 1800s.
But O'Reilly’s not wrong that more people have enrolled in government assistance since the sixties, although he claims 35 percent of households are now on federal aid. It's actually closer to 19 percent, according to the latest census.
But here's the bottom line: the system doesn't make people "dependent." Enrollment goes up during recessions, when people need it. Enrollment goes back down after the recession.
And what they don't tell you is 65 percent of recipients take assistance for only a few months or a year.
What they don't tell you is there's at least one working adult in 48 percent of households with children on food stamps. Only 13 percent don't have jobs.
At a time of national economic crisis, when so many people are struggling to find a job, Republicans are calling the country "weak," Americans "dependent" and repeatedly criticizing millions for their work ethic.