We all know that the government lies, but the lies always contain a shred of truth, and that bit of honesty is fodder enough for constructing elaborate stories of success and failure. Here are seven tricks used by politicians, bureaucrats, White House speech writers, and PR types who want to make sure that when the government lies, those lies are believed.
1. Wearing Out Slogans and Phrases
“Nation of immigrants,” “inextricably linked to the future of the Latino community,” “broken immigration system,” “jobs saved or created,” ”patchwork of laws,” “smart, effective enforcement,” “make or break moment for the middle class,” and “a better life.” The list of slogans and phrases gets longer every time campaigns begin promoting new Obama policies. Slogans and phrases are good for selling things and even better for covering up a fundamental lack of truth behind whatever we are being sold, like the need for government health care, amnesty for illegals, inflated salaries for teachers, or bailouts for union autoworkers.
2. Making Sweeping Claims of Success
These are great diversions, especially when the government lies because facts are in short supply or the numbers don’t look very good.
The unemployment rate is still breaking records, but this is what America hears about the success of the Recovery Act:
At the start of his Administration, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which prevented our economy from entering into another Great Depression.¹
Did the president avert another depression, or did he extend the recession? Ask anyone still looking for a job or planning their retirement.
3. Tying America’s Future to Special Interests
Why should middle class Americans care that illegals want a better life in America, and why should the unauthorized quest for a better life make us any more willing to pay for their education, health care, and other benefits? We have repeatedly been assured that Latinos are the future of our country, even though Department of Education figures show that they are ill-prepared to save anyone (see: Latino Immigrants Are a Poor Excuse to Push Immigration Reform). Perhaps the argument would work better if the White House told the truth: our future is tied to Latino illegals because their numbers are so vast, their needs so overwhelming, and our refusal to deport them so important to the Democratic Party that they will sink us if we don’t do something to boost their education and job skills.
4. Pushing the Payoff for Shaky Policies Far Into the Future
Obama policies are set to pay off at the end of the decade. 2020 will be a big year for the president, even though he will have been out of office for either four or eight years, depending on how things go this fall. We will be graduating more college students, we will have 100,000 new STEM teachers to educate us so we can be competitive again, and budget cuts will have substantially trimmed the deficit.
Taking credit for successes that won’t happen for years and for policies that can easily be changed by the next administration are signs that the truth is being ignored. Some problems, like high unemployment, are still waiting for their fix date. Will we be working by 2030?
5. Targeting an Enemy
Talk about a time-honored tradition. There are lots of unfortunate examples from history that prove how well this works. The rush to justify Obama policies has delivered America a vast, poorly-defined group of enemies consisting of selfish, wealthy Americans, Wall Street firms, George W. Bush, banks, the Republican Party, companies that ship jobs overseas, and unscrupulous employers who take advantage of illegals searching for their better life in America (see: Labor Department Assures Migrant Workers of Rights). One good thing about the slow recovery is that sooner or later Americans will figure out just how much the government lies, and who the real enemy is.
6. Shaming Americans into Doing Their Duty
It seems odd that an administration that is undermining everything this country stands for and has apologized on our behalf to any nation willing to listen is concerned about our duty to ensure America’s future. The drive to get Obama policies and legislation approved before Congress has time to think about what they are being asked to rubber stamp has led to the president trying to shame the country into doing what he wants. Political necessity means that the wealthy need to contribute their fair share, that salt-of-the-earth illegals get to stay in America and work without being abused by their employers, and that Americans must ensure that public employees can retire on lavish, collectively bargained pension and health benefits.
7. Playing the Noble Hero
No matter what happens, blame never sticks to President Obama because the odds against success have always been overwhelming. How many times have you heard that we just survived the worst downturn since the Great Depression? The real question is how George W. Bush and the Republican Party had the power to destroy the economy for generations to come while Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are nearly powerless to fix the problems they keep whining about.
Any more? Let me know and we will add to the list.