Government has become too damn big, too damn intrusive, and too damn lucrative for the good of the country. That's why so much of the political class in this country is comprised of con men, sociopaths, and fortune hunters. Quite frankly, most of these people would rather that you didn't understand their motives, what they really want to do, or the policies that they're implementing because what's actually good for the country is a much smaller consideration than what's good for them personally. Since this is the case and the mainstream media has become little more than a tool of the Democratic Party, the average person has to know the tricks of the trade if he wants to figure out what's really going on. Towards that end, here are some of the many, many ways that D.C. pols mislead the public about what they're trying to do.
1) I oppose my opponent's pro-wife beating stand. What do you do if your opponent takes a sensible, rational and popular stand that you can't beat? Simple: claim he holds a completely different position and attack that. There is very little real discussion of issues in D.C. and a lot of discussion about who hates women the most, who wants old people to die in the street like dogs and who wants to give the rich more of the poor's money to light their cigars. This tactic is so prevalent that you can go months or even years at a time in D.C. without any genuine back-and-forth about the issues at hand.
2) A rose by any other name may be a skunk. The name of a bill doesn't necessarily have anything at all to do with what the bill actually does. For example, like it or hate it, the Patriot Act has nothing to do with patriotism. Obamacare, which is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will actually raise the cost of care and will inevitably lead to the deaths of countless Americans -- as lifesaving procedures are denied to save the government money. In other words, put no stock in what a bill is called because for all you know, the Puppy and Orphan Protection Act may advocate grinding up puppies and orphans into a special brand of environmentally friendly Soylent Green.
3) What I say trumps what I do! No one should be surprised that politicians often say one thing and then do another. However, this has become a standard strategy for Democrats since they can count on their allies in the mainstream media to cover for them.
Barack Obama is a case study in how this works. For his first two years in office, he governed as a hyper-partisan Stalinist who compromised on almost nothing, even as he talked incessantly about compromise. He's the most wasteful spender ever to occupy the White House, but he talks like Jim DeMint on deficit reduction. Obama has run the most bumbling, ham-handed foreign policy since Jimmy Carter; yet we hear constantly from him on the importance of diplomacy. In other words, the difference between what Barack Obama says and what he does is a wee bit larger than the distance between the earth and moon.
4) We'll get right on that....tomorrow. In politics, the future is now. If a politician isn't willing to do the right thing today, he’s probably not going to be willing to do it next year for exactly the same reasons. There are as many examples of this in politics as there are overly-thin women who model for a living.
Remember Ronald Reagan's "one time" amnesty for illegal immigrants back in the eighties? He was going to make the illegals American citizens and then get around to securing the border afterwards. Twenty five years later, we're STILL waiting for the security half of that deal.
Then there are the Medicare fee cuts that stem from a 1997 law. For years, we've been planning to cut the pay-outs to doctors for Medicare, but we continually put it off. Now we're slated to cut the fee pay-out for Medicare by 21%. Is that going to happen? Probably not. If we actually did it, a lot of doctors would drop their Medicare patients faster than you could say "Holy Viagra, Grandpa!" Yet, each year, we just kick the can down the road, pretending this cut is actually going to happen someday.
We're getting the same spin on budget cuts. Our spending is "unsustainable," but we can't actually cut spending now because it'll supposedly slow economic growth. Of course, if the key to economic prosperity were government spending, we'd be in the midst of one of the largest economic booms in the history of the entire known galaxy instead of trying to stave off a debt-driven "Obamapression."
5) There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and CBO scores. Is the Congressional Budget Office a left wing hack group that's trying to mislead people? No, not at all. However, the numbers they put out often have very little to do with reality for a simple reason: Congress writes the rules that they have to go by when they're making estimates. Then, Congress conveniently takes advantage of the loopholes they've created to game the system. It's like letting hackers write the code for your blog and then scratching your head when someone keeps changing your front page to "N00b, yew aRe thE GHEY" every week.
For example, the reason Obamacare's services aren't set to begin until 2014 is largely to game the CBO's 10 year budget. Then there are Obamacare's Medicare cuts. Supposedly, they're going to cut 500 billion dollars from Medicare. Will that ever happen? Who knows? Whether the cut ever happens or not, the CBO has to score it as if it will. Unbelievably, they also have to "double count" the money to make both Medicare and Obamacare look more financially feasible -- when, of course, sadly you can only spend it once (Shhhhhh, don't tell any of the people counting on receiving Social Security a decade from now).
Does that mean CBO numbers are always useless? No, but be aware that it's extremely easy to game the numbers and because of that, their estimates may be off by hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars.
6) “Our only hope is a Blue Ribbon Panel!” -- #Thingspeopleneversay Theoretically, a special panel or blue ribbon commission could do some good, but in the real world that happens about as often as Obama's kids go through a TSA patdown. Usually, politicians know exactly what needs to be done, but find it politically unpalatable; so they do one of two things. Either they create a panel stacked with partisans that will agree with whatever useless but politically appealing course of action they want to take or alternately, they allow a real panel to be created, whose suggestions they will then promptly ignore.
A great example of this is Obama's Bowles-Simpson debt panel. Obama spent the better part of a year punting any serious questions about the enormous debt he'd created because there was a commission working on it. Then, they finally came out with a report and he promptly ignored their suggestions. Now he's putting together a new commission to answer the same questions as the last commission. This is an attempt to trick the public into thinking that he's doing SOMETHING about the issue other than golfing when he could be sitting at his desk and figuring out how to waste even more of our money.
7) If that's a cut, then why are we spending more money? Have you wondered why we spend more every year despite the fact that we hear people in D.C. howling like Banshees about all the terrible "cuts" in spending? Well, the reason is because if we plan to increase spending by 20% and then some conservative complains, and spending is only increased by 15% as a result, that's called a 5% "cut" in spending instead of a 15% increase.
A great example of how this works is the new budget compromise the Republicans and Democrats pushed through. The Republicans claim it "cuts" 38 billion dollars in spending this year. However, we'll actually be spending only $352 million less than we would have had the budget never been passed. In other words, despite all the rhetoric and government-shutdown brinksmanship, we ended up cutting less money out of the budget than we'll probably borrow from China while Barack Obama is eating his waffle for breakfast tomorrow.