Letter: Fundamental questions about government need to be asked
"The truth shall set you free," the saying goes, but more than likely a little lie or enough of them will get you elected these days. The American public, or a large portion of them, prefer to hear what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear—hence the proliferation of near truths spouted by politicians during election season.
Some organizations have sprung up to "fact check" or "truth-o-meter" statements by both parties and the special interest groups such as the Tea Party in an effort to enlighten the public, but in the interest of not offending anyone gray, has been added to the traditional black-and-white landscape. Mostly true" and "barely true" descriptions pass as judgments of fact, which are later repeated as fact.
I imagine there have been retired con men writing books on how to dupe a mark using the same skills now acceptable by politicians and the American Partisan—sweeten a lie with a little truth and it will be easier to swallow.
When a politician of any stripe puts off paying a debt or pushes it down to state or local government to deal with, they did not cut costs or reduce debt; they just made matters worse. When a politician claims to have balanced a budget by not funding a mandate or cutting a program without planning for the resulting consequences, they are doing the same. America is in financial trouble because, while people shout for less and less government intervention in our lives and fewer hands in their pockets, they continue to feed at the government trough.
The thought process must be akin to what Governor Pawlenty said on Meet the Press this week. When asked why he took stimulus money, he stated if the government was willing to give it away, why not. Principle comes to mind: if you believe something is hurting our country, you don’t participate just because everyone else did.
The truth is, we all either utilize services or are subsidized in one way or another by the government. When it helps us, we’re for it and when it doesn’t, we’re not. It is kind of like federal retirees ranting about how well federal workers get paid or a person working under the table complaining about taxes.
The other truth is, to reduce our debt and balance our budget, everyone and every budget item should feel some pain. It’s not about spending or taxing; it has always been and will always be about the role of and how we fund our government.