Friday, December 16, 2011

Campaign Rhetoric

If you thought that deceptive rhetoric ended when George Bush left the White House, think again. This was yesterday in the New York Times.

“Congress should not and cannot go on vacation before they have made sure that working families aren’t seeing their taxes go up by $1,000 and those who are out there looking for work don’t see their unemployment insurance expire,” President Obama said Thursday as he encouraged Congress to reach a compromise.

One minor point is that what states provide is unemployment insurance; what the federal government provides is extended unemployment benefits.
It is not insurance at all, because insurance payouts are the result of premiums paid into the program. State benefits are paid from premiums paid by employers, federal benefits are paid from general revenue. The President’s phrasing here is less deception than it is merely ignorant. It’s
a minor point, but I expect better from the chief executive of my nation.

The bigger point is his argument about a tax increase and his claim of its effect on a “struggling economy.” Republicans have long claimed that tax cuts stimulate the economy, while Democrats and economists have long provided convincing evidence that they harm the government more than they help the economy, and from the day he took office Obama has embraced a policy of repeated tax cuts with all the fervor of the most ardent Republican.

And what he’s talking about is not a tax increase, it’s the expiration of a tax cut, so he is not arguing against a tax increase, he is arguing in favor of the repeat of a previous tax cut which is expiring. And again, tax cuts are a Republican policy, not a Democratic one.

He might more accurately phrase it, “...working families aren’t returned to a policy of saving for their future retirement.” Or, “...working families aren’t required to pay for future benefits.” Or, “...we extend the Obama policy of government borrowing money to pay for people to retire.” But don’t give me that nonsense about a tax increase.

1 comment:

bruce said...

It's a political speech, which makes it semantic pandering, and not technically accurate. But most listeners would not know or care about the difference.

And yes, I'd like to see better from the Chief Executive, but I do not expect it from any politican, especially one running for re-election.

And the namby-pamby semantics certainly sound better than the truth, which no politician really wants to say. And no one really wants to hear either.

And that is not just an American thing either, look at the Euro and some of the countries there.. same thing.

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