His exact words were:
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better…”
Interestingly enough, Bauer does have a point. However, it is not the point he thought he was making. Now, if we take the companies that we bailed out as being analogous to stray animals, then he is dead on. By providing these companies with tax payer money we are simply encouraging their bad and irresponsible behavior. As he argued, we need to hold stray animals like Goldman Sachs accountable and make those feral fat cats give something back in return.
Bauer also said the following:
“I can show you a bar graph where free and reduced lunch has the worst test scores in the state of South Carolina,” adding, “You show me the school that has the highest free and reduced lunch, and I’ll show you the worst test scores, folks. It’s there, period.”
Bauer seems to be right about this. Schools that have the free and reduced lunches do tend to have lower test scores. However, Bauer is making an error in his causal reasoning. It is not the free or reduced lunch prices that are lowering scores. After all, imagine if top scoring schools were given free lunch programs. This would not result in lower scores because the price of lunch has nothing to do with academic performance.
The most likely explanation for this correlation is that there is a another factor that is causing both (he is thus committing the fallacy of ignoring a possible common cause) effects. To be specific, poverty leads to a need for reduced price or free lunches and likewise tends to result in worse academic performance. Schools in poorer areas obviously tend to pay teachers less and tend to have far less money for supplies, equipment and programs. Also, people who are poor generally lack the resources to provide their kids with what is needed to do better in school. As such, the culprit here is not the lunch programs but rather poverty.
As a final point, it continues to amaze me that people can reach fairly high political offices without having an adequate grasp of what to say and not to say. I can understand a person making a quick and stupid slip, but Bauer developed his remarks at length. Even his attempts to defend himself merely dug a deeper hole. Then again, it is interesting to see a politician who seems to be willing to say what he really thinks-even if it is rather horrible.
Related articles by Zemanta
- SC Lt. Gov. compares people getting gov’t help to ‘stray animals’ who ‘breed’ because they don’t know better. (thinkprogress.org)
- SC Lt. Gov: The Needy Are Like Stray Animals That Breed And Don’t Think Beyond That (alan.com)