To briefly expand on two of the other myths: Republicans shrink government? Not in the past 75 years. At one of his State of the Union speeches, President Bush was applauded after talking about "spending discipline," but since he became president, the government has hired a million more people and increased spending more than on President Clinton's watch. It's not just because of terrorism. During Bush's first five years, spending at the Department of Labor was up 31 percent, Agriculture: 38 percent, Education: 81 percent. And the new prescription drug benefit is yet to be counted. Put a politician in power, and he'll take your money and spend it. That's what politicians do. Even Republicans.
"Life getting worse" is myth No.1 because in TV newsrooms, I hear a constant whine about life getting worse: avian flu will kill us if terrorism doesn't get us first; crime and pollution keep increasing, and the poor are suffering. But in truth, life keeps getting better. We live longer than ever, and with less pain (think about dental care in the 1960s). Crime is down. In America, even poor people have homes, cars, and access to music and other entertainment that was once only available to royalty. Pollution? The air and water keep getting cleaner. I jumped in the Hudson River not long ago to illustrate the point. There I was, swimming away and looking up at the Empire State building. Despite eight million people flushing nearby, the health department says swimming in the Hudson is now perfectly safe.
Despite all the complaints from the media, life keeps getting better. Let's complain less and enjoy 2006.