One of the most tragic things about modern politics is that it's practically impossible for the average American to understand what's going on without an interpreter. By that, I mean that the "Saving Kittens, Baby Pandas, and Puppies Act of 2011" may actually be a bill that gives $10,000 tax credits to lawyers who defend sleazy zoos from negligence suits.
From there, things only get worse because the newspapers blindly parrot whatever the liberal line is on the bill, the establishment Republicans say one thing, the Tea Partiers say another, and most people are left scratching their heads trying to figure out what the bloody hell is going on in a 2000 page bill that’s released to Congress about 11 minutes before they get around to voting.
Still, there are certain oft-repeated shibboleths that you can safely interpret without having to tune into the Rush Limbaugh show or Right Wing News to figure out what's going on. Let's talk about a few of those.
1) It's for the children: Whatever new programs our politicians come up with are certainly not "for the children." If politicians were honest, most of them would tell you that they'll start caring about "the children" the moment they can vote them out of office. Even then, the pols wouldn't actually look out for the kids; they'd just do appearances with Justin Bieber and push bills that give away free candy.
Does that sound cynical? Well, here's the rejoinder to that: Our politicians have run up a 14 trillion dollar national debt by spending money today that our children will have to pay off tomorrow. The only thing we can do for "the children" that matters at this point is to start paying off that money.
2) We have to pay for those tax cuts: This is like a tick saying that a dog needs to "pay for the blood" it didn't get to suck earlier in the day. We have to pay for expenditures, like flying the Obamas around on their zillions of vacations and the taxpayer funds we poured into GM and Chrysler to bail out the unions. However, allowing people to keep more of the money they earned isn't an expenditure.