ABC 20/20 investigative reporter and author John Stossel is one of my favorite pundits. But I almost passed on his column today at Realclearpolitics.com. That’s because it’s about Arianna Huffington.
Arianna Huffington? Ho-hum.
But I gave the column a glance; wound up reading it all; and was glad I did.
It was not because of what Stossel reports Huffington said during an interview, but for what he did with her comments. Here’s some of it:
… I interviewed her for "20/20" last week (http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=4728672) because I was impressed by the success of the website she created. In just three years she made the Huffington Post a hot liberal opinion site.There’s more like that before Stossel closes with this that left me smiling:
What happened to Huffington's beliefs? In 1994, she worked to promote the Gingrich Revolution. She appeared at political events with Bob Dole.
"I definitely called myself a conservative," she told me. "I actually believed that the private sector would be able to address a lot of the issues that I believed were very important, like taking care of those in need. And then I saw firsthand how difficult it was. ...
"One of the problems with the Right is that they don't believe in facts, and they don't believe in evidence. And I was willing to change my mind, confronted with new evidence. And we would all be better off if we were willing to look at new evidence."
So she turned to big government.
"What we need is serious government policies to address poverty."
But they don't work, I said.
"They don't work as well as they should be working, but there's a lot more we can do."
She believes the old AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) program helped the poor and therefore welfare reform was not a good thing.
"[Reform was] not a success. A lot of people have been left without job training and therefore without the ability to really lead productive lives."
I pointed out that since welfare reform, eight million people left the welfare rolls (http://tinyurl.com/5lcszs and http://tinyurl.com/6c8mam), and many found jobs they like, jobs that pay better than welfare.
Although her favorite political candidates say life for the poor has gotten worse, incomes of the poorest Americans are actually higher today (http://tinyurl.com/3ybm72).
Confronted with a chart showing that, Huffington acknowledged that lower-income people are generally better off.
"In general. In general ... But you know we have over 30 million Americans living below the poverty line."
But the Census Bureau says the percentage of families living below the poverty line fell from 11 percent in 1996 to 9.8 percent in 2006 (http://tinyurl.com/r4hu8).
The percentage of single mothers below the poverty line fell from 32.6 percent in 1996 to 28.3 in 2006 (http://tinyurl.com/r4hu8).
That looks like progress to me.
Huffington has also joined the war on global warming. "We have two Priuses," she says.The entire column’s here.
I pointed out that she also has a $7-million house that burns more carbon than a hundred people in the Third World.
She said: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes -- all those things are contradictions. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle."
That honesty is a relief. If only she and others would own up to the other contradictions in the Left's call for endlessly intrusive government.
It’s title: The Left Is Wrong.