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Democracy and Power 108: Obfuscation
Wherever politics intrudes upon economic life, political success is readily attained by saying what people like to hear rather than what is demonstrably true. Instead of safeguarding truth and honesty, the state then tends to become a major source of insincerity and mendacity. – Hans F. Sennholz
Knowing their constituents are rationally ignorant, and fearing legislated failures, the politician’s speech is seldom precise or logically reasoned. Seeking a favorable image, the politician talks in generalities, exaggerates and obfuscates.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is outraged at the deceptions avowed to pass the latest $26 Billion bailout for public employees. The editorial ended with these very harsh words:
Congress provided nothing more than the means to grow government payrolls, expand union membership and boost union dues and donations to the Democratic Party.
President Obama and Congress claimed the bailout was an emergency to prevent 160,000 teacher layoffs. Remember, Speaker Pelosi order Congress back from their August vacation to stop the layoffs, and President Obama said, "We can't stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children."
The editorial explains what the law actually achieves:
Then news trickled out that the debt-growing legislation was a payday loan, not a charitable donation. Some $10 billion in federal handouts can't be used to fill budget gaps created by recession-driven revenue shortfalls. No, the money must grow stretched education budgets, and as a condition of accepting the money, states must agree to maintain or increase education spending, as a percentage of total state revenues, next fiscal year.
It is, as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said, a "federal government hijacking" of state budgets that will force lawmakers everywhere to raise taxes or slash spending elsewhere over the next year.
The Democracy and Power lesson:
Besides the obfuscation – deceit – the vote intended to strengthen the power of unions and the Democratic majority in Congress.
Democracy and Power 105: The Politician seeks power
In America, a politician intentionally selects to enter politics. He or she seeks power in the name of the public good, but predominately they seek power. When a person enters Congress or the Presidency, they seek and use the coercive power of government.
And as James Madison stated in a Speech in the Virginia State Convention of 1829-1830: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
Or as the Las Vegas editorial ended: This isn't saving jobs. …. This is coercion. This is bribery. This is wrong.