Myths, Lies and Straight Talk

"I get to L.A., and I've got the presidential suite," he said, "and it all came at once. … And it was too much. I realized, 'OK, I got it, God. I got it. I got it. This will not work. It is not gonna make me happy.' … The only thing that's gonna make me happy is the joy that's on the inside of me."

Research suggests that Reverend Run and Russell Simmons are right. A survey of 49 of the Forbes richest found that they weren't any happier than the rest of us.

Money magazine columnist Jean Chatsky polled 1,500 people for her book "You Don't Have to Be Rich" and found that more money makes people significantly happier only if their family income's below $30,000, but by $50,000, money makes no difference.

"Once you get to that $50,000 level, more money doesn't buy more happiness," she said.

Happiness researchers agree with Simmons and Chatsky: Purposeful work is what makes people happy. And finding religion. And family.

MYTH #8 — Republicans Shrink the Government

Republicans always trot out the slogan that they oppose big government and want to shrink the federal payroll. President Bush tells us that "big government is not the answer."

President Reagan told us, "Our government is too big and it spends too much."

But for more than 75 years, no Republican administration has cut the size of government. Since George W. Bush became president, government spending has risen nearly 25 percent.

And the spending increase isn't just tied to the war on terrorism. The Office of Management and Budget says spending at the Environmental Protection Agency is up 12 percent; it's up 14 percent at the Agriculture Department, 30 percent at the Department of the Interior; 64 percent at the Department of Labor, and 70 percent at the Department of Education.

And the pork keeps pouring out. Even the Peanut Festival in Dothan, Ala., got $200,000.

Alabama congressman Terry Everett, a Republican, got them the money. He wouldn't talk to us about it, but the locals said they like getting your money. "I think it's a waste of money, but if they're going to waste money, I guess it's better to waste it here than anywhere else," one man told me.

Economist Stephen Moore, a Republican, says, "We fought a war against big government and you know what? Big government won."

He noted, "You look at what's happened to the government in the 10 years since the Republicans took control of Congress, the government is twice as big."

MYTH #7 — The World Is Getting Too Crowded

We've heard protests about this for decades: News articles warn of "the population bomb," and "a tidal wave of humanity," and plead: No more babies.

The world population today is more than 6 billion. It seems like so many people. But who says it's "too many?"

There are lots of problems all over the world caused by too many people

But there's no space problem. Our planet is huge. In fact we could take the entire world population and move everyone to the state of Texas, and the population density there would still be less than that of New York City.

But, you might wonder, won't we run out of resources, like food?

Paul Ehrlich wrote the book "Population Bomb," and warned 65 million Americans would starve in a "Great Die Off" in the 1980s. The 1973 movie "Soylent Green" predicted food riots would erupt in the year 2022 but it doesn't look like that will happen.

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