When Charlie Brown sets up to kick a football, we all know what's coming: He runs at the ball, Lucy pulls it away, and he lands on his rear end.
When it comes to science and data, the political Left is like Lucy. On environmental issues, the environmental Left won't take non-polluted as an answer (even when our air keeps getting cleaner). Regarding welfare, the social policy Left won't accept that more government might equal lower quality of life. They all tell people to look at the data, but when the data isn't what they like (which it rarely is) they pull the data.
And then, they wonder why the public doesn't trust them.
In an issue that I have now been following for a while, West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo., has the environmental Left worked up to almost apoplectic levels. All that silly data coming from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that the community is safe. This isn't Breitbart or Sean Hannity talking, or somebody else they can dismiss as "fake news." It's the EPA — under Obama's appointees.
But that just isn't a truth that the Left wants to accept, so they are looking for their own facts. They have tried bringing in unions, but the workers on the site aren't union. They have used some very sad stories, but the science hasn't backed up the claims they make about the causes of these tragedies.
Because the EPA hasn't helped them, they are even trying to ditch the EPA. Again: The findings of Obama's EPA aren't good enough for them, because environmentalists don't really want news that the environment is doing OK.
Watch out, Charlie Brown.
West Lake Landfill isn't exactly a normal landfill. Radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project was dumped there in 1973. Therefore, it was rightfully labeled a Superfund site in 1990, and the EPA has been working on developing and implementing a cleanup plan ever since. The agency had studies done both of the landfill and its effects on the surrounding community, and their conclusions have all been the same: The site is currently safe — well, as safe as can be for a Superfund site.
However, dangers still exist. For instance, if the site is hit by a natural disaster, that would be a problem. So, the best plan would be to begin implementing the EPA's long-run safety plan to protect the local community as soon as possible, right?
Well, not if you are on the political Left — that isn't good enough for them. So, like Lucy, they pull the logic football away from us, and now they want to shift jurisdiction for the site to the Army Corps of Engineers. Maybe then they'll give them the answers they want? The problems of this approach are numerous, but just the possibility of resetting the 30-year process should be laughable. It isn't though — just as Charlie Brown isn't laughing after he falls.
It isn't just the "radical" environmentalists though; the Left is the same with welfare-oriented policies. This is currently on full display after a report came out that showed that raising the minimum wage is bad for the people it's supposed to help.
From the study:
Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees' earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016.
It's another one of those cases where the Left is basically saying, "Don't you know how much we're helping you — you idiot rednecks?"
Well, for politicians and ideologues who have been claiming the opposite would happen, this is a conclusion that just won't cut it. So, even though the city commissioned the original study (cue Lucy walking out onto the field), they decided that they needed a new study. And of course they weren't going to mess around with the possibility of getting the answer they didn't like twice, so they commissioned the second study from Berkeley, where the conclusion was known well in advance – they couldn't waste time in between riots against visiting conservative speakers.
Logic, reason, and science — by definition — shouldn't be cajoled, massaged, and replaced just to suit a certain argument, and the Left's use of this tactic does nothing to further public policy debates. It only undermines the scientific fields that they disregard when doing this. We should all stand together and reject this method of distraction.
Charlie Brown is a cartoon – making the same mistake decade after decade is a running gag. However, we don't have to stand for it. Denying science like this is no laughing matter.
Charles Sauer (@CharlesSauer) is a contributer to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is president of the Market Institute and previously worked on Capitol Hill, for a governor, and for an academic think tank.
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