Opinion

Jack Shafer

President Obama loses his sense of balance

By Jack Shafer
August 9, 2012

President Barack Obama, like many of us, dislikes much of what he drinks from the news spigot. As the New York Times reported this week:

Privately and publicly, Mr. Obama has articulated what he sees as two overarching problems: coverage that focuses on political winners and losers rather than substance; and a “false balance,” in which two opposing sides are given equal weight regardless of the facts.

Before I continue, I’ll give you just a moment to guess which of the two opposing sides the president thinks is being given “equal weight” but does not deserve it. Need a little more time? Just another second? O.K.…time’s up! The president thinks the press is allowing his unworthy, mendacious Republican opponents to nullify the truths he speaks from the Oval Office. Obama has expressed these views in meetings with columnists on both the left and the right, according to the Times. It peeves him when reporters give equal weight to both sides when one side is factually incorrect and when they blame both parties when one party is to blame. Obama’s specific beef, it seems, is coverage of health insurance legislation and the stimulus package.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the Times that the president believes the press engages in false balance so they can say both sides are equally wrong or both are equally bad, which allows the press, said Carney, to “look high-minded.”

False political balance was on Obama’s mind when he spoke at the American Society of News Editors convention in April. He doesn’t blame the press directly, but you don’t need to read between the lines to gather what he’s saying. “I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented – which reinforces I think people’s cynicism about Washington generally,” the president said.

One obvious cure for the false balance that seems to be giving Obama vertigo would be a press corps that sided with him consistently. This would be an elegant solution if the president were infallible, but he isn’t – as he himself admits.

For instance, in 2006, while a U.S. senator, Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling. I’m sure that at the time, Obama thought reporters giving equal time to President George W. Bush and others who wanted the debt ceiling raised were guilty of extending false balance.

But then in April 2011, after becoming president, Obama called for the debt ceiling to be raised. When questioned about his reversal, Obama acknowledged his error, and sent Press Secretary Carney out to apologize for him. “The president … regrets that vote and thinks it was a mistake,” Carney said.

Now, it could be that there is one absolutely true and correct position on whether or not to raise the debt ceiling. I’m sure that in Obama’s mind, a “no” vote in 2006 was the only defensible position to take and that he believed that any journalist who gave space to the opposing view was guilty of extending false balance. Similarly, he must have believed that reporters who had followed the Obama line in their 2006 dispatches performed admirably.

But once Obama switched positions on the debt ceiling in 2011, who was he to criticize anybody of false balance! Indeed, he should have been praising the “false-balance” journalists who, in 2006, were critical of his vote and more admiring of the position of President George W. Bush.

The debt ceiling isn’t the only issue Obama has reversed himself on and caused a false-balance meltdown. Since becoming president, he has flip-flopped on gay marriage, the closing of the Guantanamo detention facility, “terror” renditions, exercising war powers without congressional approval, supporting President Mubarak, continuing the manned space program, and others. I’d be the last person to criticize Obama for changing his views, especially if they’re based on the presentation of new evidence. Isn’t that what the Enlightenment was all about? To paraphrase a recent Matt Ridley column in the Wall Street Journal, progress depends on openness to ideas from all corners, even unseemly ones. Such openness is especially vital for a figure like the president who has a near-monopoly over certain kinds of decision making – such as where to send drones. Besides, by inviting both left and right columnists to the White House, isn’t he admitting the usefulness of false balance, or whatever you want to call listening to multiple points of view?

“When a discipline defers to a single authority and demands adherence to a set of beliefs, then it becomes a cult,” Ridley writes. His subject is the role of confirmation bias in science, but what he says applies equally to politics and the press. I fear false balance less than I do those who would silence the false balancers. And if flip-flopping Obama were a tad more introspective, he’d feel the same way.

******

I’d give my balance beam performance a perfect 10. Send your scores to Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com. Follow my Twitter feed to see me fall flat on my ass. Sign up for email notifications of new Shafer columns (and other occasional announcements). Subscribe to this RSS feed for new Shafer columns.

PHOTO: President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) Convention in Washington, April 3, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Comments
24 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

9.99

The problem is:

“But once Obama switched positions on the debt ceiling in 2011, who was he to criticize anybody of false balance!”

Don’t you need a question mark at the end of that sentence, not an exclamation point?

;)

Posted by dwhite414 | Report as abusive
 

This article represents one big ad hominem argument.

I’m sure Obama would agree with you that he should not be the one to determine which statements are factual and which are empty or false. The fact that you would disagree with his choices does not invalidate the premise that journalism does an insufficient job separating truth from misdirection – necessitating cites like politifact.

Posted by VicL | Report as abusive
 

You have addressed the issue I believe is most important in modern political science.

Politicians live by different rules than do the rest of us. We give them a pass when they proclaim obvious lies or distortions and we overlook self-serving demagoguery as “just politics” Their lies go unchallenged for years and it becomes so imbedded in their psyche that their versions of the truth are transformed into the truth without reservation. Politicians are unique amongst all modern professions.

It’s too late to change Barrack now. He is a modern day deity surrounded by hundreds of uniformed and non-uniformed sycophants of various professions and ranks. There is no reason to expect him to feel as anything other than a prophet without respect. The types of personal frustration required before an epiphany can occur are not available to him. His personal boundaries are blurred and his interruption of world events would frighten all of us if we were privy to their logic and flow.

If politicians were not insane when they began their carriers, they are certainly insane at the zenith of their power. Pelosi’s recent comments about her recent encounters with various political apparitions is a small example. It would be interesting to ask Obama if he has encountered the specter of Lincoln while in the White House. I’ll bet he has.

Posted by PhilGrimm | Report as abusive
 

Let me see if I get this right:

1) The president has criticized false balance.
2) One way to alleviate false balance — which Obama never suggested — is to blindly agree with Obama 100% of the time. This is a bad idea.
3) Therefore, false balance is not a problem.

Nothing to see here, folks. The straw man has been slain, and the modern media has attained perfection.

From the creationism-in-our-schools debate, to the ACA, to the ever-present claims being made about our country’s economic health, we see a lot of issues where one side or the other wins political points based solely on blatant untruths and misinformation. The press has a responsibility to expose these untruths, rather than just focusing on which erroneous argument is more effective at winning over the hearts and minds of voters.

Obviously, under no circumstances should any publication consistently side with a single politician or party. To act like false balance isn’t an issue, though, simply because the current administration might stand to gain from its elimination, will only discourage meaningful debate and encourage tactics that aim to deceive low-information voters.

Posted by line1 | Report as abusive
 

I think he has a point when at least 2/3rds of Repubs think he is A) a muslim, B) born in Kenya, C) a socialist, D) the worst president of all time. They can only think those things when constantly bombarded with ugly lies disguised as media balance. The Messiah he isn’t, but the junk that conservatives throw at him you’d think he’s the anti-Christ!

Posted by CDN_Rebel | Report as abusive
 

Politicians on either side are coddled by both their supporter and the media.

It is the media especially that has aided this gross state of affairs. Corporate mainstream media trading integrity for access a long time ago. The MSM tiptoes around politicians, never challenging them or asking the important questions. You get platitudes and cliches. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a sound-byte than can be made into a controversy to drive up TV and web page views.

Fox is absolutely atrocious, and while the New York Times is ‘liberal’ (i.e corporate moderates at best) it too will stay in harmony with the status quo. Letting its viewers know what the limits, parameters, boundaries of a discussion or topic is.

Posted by TheUSofA | Report as abusive
 

@CDN_Rebel

Indeed, conservative media has been scraping the bottom of the barrel for some time now. Anything Rupert Murdoch touches is vile. Not surprising that the UK Murdoch hacking case which revealed an enormous amount of corruption and influence peddling had little effect here in America.

However even ‘liberal’ media protects the status quo and will not challenge it. Ex:

How the Obama administration is making the US media its mouthpiece
bit.ly/NVJ9HG

In the end there is no accountability because everyone is picking and choosing.

Mainstream media in general has allowed and promoted an ‘us and them’ type of conversation to grow.

Corporate/MSM media today is driven to serve the bottom line, not the public’s interest.

Posted by TheUSofA | Report as abusive
 

Who profits from Super PACS? More money than ever devoted to negative TV ads (hardly informing the public). Thanks to the Supreme Court (dysfunction everywhere you look) for doubling down on and promoting the influence of organized money on the democratic electoral process.

From ‘Money Down the Tube” by Tim Dickinson:

“Industry analysts predict that upwards of $3 billion will be spent on political advertising this year – a surge of more than $500 million over 2008.

‘Election season has turned into Black Friday for broadcaster,” says Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation, which fights for transparency in elections. ‘It’s just a huge bonanza.’

While TV stations are required by law to offer discounted airtime to politicians, Super PACs have to pay market rates.

…In essence, broadcasters are now profiteering from a vicious circle of corruption: Politicians are beholden to big donors because campaigns are so expensive, and campaigns are so expensive because they’re fought through television ads. The more cash that chases the limited airtime, the more the ads will cost, and the more politicians must lean on deep-pocketed-patrons. In short, the dirtier the system, the better for the bottom line at TV stations and cable systems.

…The influx of political cash means that the news divisions have what Allison calls a ‘huge conflict of interest’ when it comes to reporting on campaign finance. The profit motive stifles critical coverage of top donors and meaningful reforms, such as public financing of elections. ‘Broadcasters have an incentive not to see the system changed,’ he says.

***

The profit motive without morals, ethics and seemingly zero sens of greater good, continues to destroy.

Posted by TheUSofA | Report as abusive
 

Ironic that Obama, the ‘darling’ of the media, complains more about media coverage than his predecessor who, we can safely say, was lambasted and vilified by the press.

The 1st amendment is the 1st for a reason. It is the 1st of rights trampled by over-bearing governments and it is 1st in need of protection. Any man, woman, or political entity that calls for suppression of the 1st fears the legitimacy of their agenda and prefers to rule from the shadows.

Posted by CtzCain | Report as abusive
 

BOTTOM LINE: u-bam-a is an evil loser.

His supporters are individuals that want free things and special treatment(freeloaders and special interest groups). These people are NOT Americans.

u-bam-a is whining and crying like a spoiled infant because he cannot have his way.

Wise up voters; throw the child out of office.

The facts no one wants to read.

Learn to think for yourself.

Censorship is evil.

Posted by ALLSOLUTIONS | Report as abusive
 

line1, I think the point is that while false balance may present problems, the cure is always worse than the ailment. I happen to agree.

Do I find truthers, birthers, and young-earth creationists to be exasperating? Yes. Would I treat them equally in their disputes with the conventional, okham-abiding theories they dispute? No. But some will (obviously the adherents and sympathizers) and there isn’t much to be done about that, is there? A columnist who writes a “fair and balanced” piece about whether creationism should be taught in a science curriculum probably sympathizes with the creationist position. By what means should we silence him?

Posted by ejsofel | Report as abusive
 

I remember legislation from when I was a kid that required ‘balanced’ coverage of issues, pro/con (Recalling this, I picture Walter Cronkite). That law was removed later maybe c. 1970s or 1980.

I think that the topic here is false equivalence more than false balance. False equivalence can be the political equivalence of calling out the mote in another’s eye vs. the log in one’s own. It’s done out of context and makes debates more anecdotal or apocryphal instead of more factual or issue-based.

Pres. Obama did not do his best a month ago when he was ad-libbing what NJ candidate Warren said about the need for physical and civic infrastructure – she did a beautiful job of building on 19th cent. Justice Holmes’ thoughts. Similarly, the White House probably meant equivalence, not balance, and was calling out the increasing lack of context in debate and advertising. One example is campaign line that drilling is down on US Federal land; often repeated w/o saying that drilling on all US lands (public and private) is sharply increased over the last few years.

Posted by Decatur | Report as abusive
 

Jack Shafer: “But I fear false balance less than I do those who would silence the false balancers.”

Here’s a novel journalistic idea: Just focus on seeking the truth and educating the public on the truth. The choice between false balance and silencing false balancers is a spurious one. I’m horrifically amazed that you’d write a piece defending the practice of false balance. False balance is a form of prevarication, or lying by omission. It’s misleading and gives the public a false reading of what our reality is. This is exactly how we ended up going to war in Iraq when it wasn’t necessary. With the exception of a few of us diligent skeptics, Americans were made to think invading Iraq WAS necessary, with very little skepticism, or balance, that would support why we shouldn’t. 100,000 lives and a trillion tax dollars later and we move on without having learned a dam thing because our “journalists” still haven’t shined an adequate amount of light on the Iraq disaster, and, therefore, we WILL do it again.

Ironically, our Iraq folly was better covered by foreign news media, including Al Jazeera, creating the shameful dynamic where the informed people of other countries had a better, more accurate understanding of the entire Iraq War fiasco than Americans did, the perpetrators. After all, we were well into the war when I saw a poll showing where 70% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, we submitted to a major war without even correctly knowing why. This is the kind of thing that destroys great nations and our inept news media, more worried about appearing balanced that actually informing the people with the truth, is a major part of the problem.

So, of course Obama has a legitimate complaint. Yes, the news media was right to report that a Sen. Obama voted against raising the debt limit when Bush was President. That’s a relevant FACT; the truth. But it’s also very relevant that the raising of the debt ceiling was never in question when Bush was President. There are millions of misinformed Americans who will be basing their vote based, in large part, on misinformation. Obama’s a socialist; Obama’s a Muslim; Obama wasn’t US born; Obama has a secret plan to confiscate our guns if he’s reelected; Obama might be the anti-Christ; there’s simply no excuse why millions of Americans believe such nonsense except for the dismal job our “news” media does in keeping us informed. Understand this: Unless we have a perfectly balanced world, good honest journalism will not appear balanced.

Right now America is experiencing an alarmingly sharp increase in the acceptance of extreme positions: eliminating all regulations regarding gun ownership; refusal to raise the debt ceiling; half of our “democratically elected” government signing pledges to one man not to raise even a penny in taxes; a pledge by one party to oppose our President in every effort he makes (supporting him on a record low of only 5% of his initiatives); an attempt to lower taxes on the rich to their lowest point in the history of income taxes at a time of historically high debt; an attempt to eliminate all abortions; the use of legislation to prevent legal Americans from voting; the extreme wealth disparity that exists in America as compared to our past and all other developed nations in the world (which, according to Romney, should only be discussed in “quiet rooms,” and apparently the news media agrees); the extreme hardships that our healthcare system places on Americans and employers as compared to all other developed nations; and the endless unprecedented onslaught of lies leveled at this President. I’ll go so far as to say that there are clear signs of a fledgling movement afoot that is moving toward a rejection of democracy in favor of some type of authoritarian state. You see signs of it in the increasing number of Tea Party candidates who are running on the platforms of refusing to compromise with Democrats on ANYTHING. You can’t have democracy without compromise. There was a Republican committee newsletter in Virginia calling for an armed revolt should Obama win the Presidency. You may be able to find examples of such things sprinkled throughout our history, but you’d be hard pressed to find a time in our history when such an aggregate of these extreme positions have taken place, except perhaps just before the Civil War or the Revolutionary War. If Germany had the kind of news media that we have now during the rise of Nazism, there would have been no need for Hitler to shut down or take control of the German news outlets, because the news outlets would be presenting Nazism as reasonable and balanced positions with no cause for alarm, regardless of the harm it was causing people. They’d be doing his propaganda work for him, all in the name of false balance.

Whether you agree with those positions I listed above or not, they are all extreme and not representative of the majority of this country. And before anyone starts, I’m not advocating the extreme opposite of those positions either. My point is that extremism is on the rise and we don’t have a news media that’s accurately reporting it as such. You may even agree with some of the extreme positions. That’s fine, so long as you understand the proper context of those positions and possible consequences, and know that they are extreme. So instead of accurate reporting, we have editorials like this one advocating disinformation in the name of appearing balanced. I find it reprehensible and, to use a term that was often leveled at anyone who dared to question Bush and the Republicans march to war in Iraq (in the spirit of my complaint), unAmerican.

Posted by flashrooster | Report as abusive
 

ejsofel, I would agree with you if the choices you (and Shafer) present of a) continuing the way things are or b) suppressing freedom of the press to silence naysayers were our only options. But that’s a false dichotomy, which is my whole gripe with this article to begin with.

Censoring the media is in no way our only solution to this issue; it’s not even a solution that anyone, other than Shafer, has actually put forward. Expecting some degree of journalistic standards and demanding that the media report the truth, rather than simply regurgitating a well-balanced array of talking points, is how this problem is solved.

I’m not saying that’s an easy solution to adopt. As flashrooster mentioned, our society seems to be frighteningly tolerant of (and even supportive of) extreme positions, so news organizations might risk alienating some of their consumers if they stopped giving credence to extreme political views based on empty rhetoric and misinformation. There are very real obstacles to the elimination of false balance, but there’s no logical argument to be made that the status quo is some kind of moral high ground. It’s more likely that it’s simply a sound business decision.

Posted by line1 | Report as abusive
 

…and now – the comment writers have lost their sense of balance :)

Posted by equ32 | Report as abusive
 

I’ll give you the 10.0 on the balance beam. I think this editorial was positively as neutral as it could be and represented the facts in a fair way. Good job!

Posted by TheWiseOne | Report as abusive
 

Ok….I am a conservative.

“Obama being a Muslim” – I really don’t care if Obama is a Muslim or not. I would care about that if there was an effort by him or members of his administration to start using Sharia Law in the United States.

“Obama not being born in the United States” – If it were to come out that he is not a citizen of the United States it would create some interesting times in our country. Basically any legislation that he signed, executive order, policy decision he has been involved in or made would be invalid. I would like to have some faith in the process of “due diligence” that someone somewhere has conducted proper background checks to make sure he is able to hold the office. Not to mention the requirments for the security clearance he now holds.

“Obama being a socialist” – We can argue terms and definitions all day long. His political leanings, ideology, and the direction he seems (at least to me) are more socialistic than I like. I do think he is a socialist. I also think he has little regard for the US Constitution or else he would have not put forward the ACA has he did. Any simpleton who has read the Constitution knows that the States have powers the Federal Government doesn’t have and using the comparison of Romney Care (a State Plan) to Obama Care (Federal Plan) is comparing apples and oranges when it comes to who can do what.

“Obama is the worst President in history” – I can agree with that for reasons of my own. But that is like the left saying that “Bush is the worst President ever” it is a matter of opinion.

“Invasion of Iraq was not needed” – There are various reasons why I agree that invading Iraq was needed and justified. Oddly none of them have anything to do with WMD. I think there was plenty of justification based on 12+ years of UN Sanction violations and the genocide he conducted while he was in power. Why they went with the WMD idea I have no idea. In all reality Saddam played poker and lost. We can talk about the handling of the war for days to come.

Those who rely on the press to tell them the truth are naive at best. It is a good place to start to find out what may be going on in the world…but what stops people from doing their own research and forming their own opinions? Lazy maybe?

Posted by VoteEducated | Report as abusive
 

@flashrooster

Perhaps the fledgling revolt you see against the Democrats is the revolt against what many of us see as the creation or attempt to create an authoritarian state.

I think the honest look at the facts would make that pretty obvious.

But you are entertaining at times.

Posted by VoteEducated | Report as abusive
 

Thanks, VoteEducated, for validating my post. For a while there I was afraid no one would believe me. And for the record, Saddam Hussein was not involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Posted by flashrooster | Report as abusive
 

If u-bam-a wants substance in the media, here is what the headlines would be everyday:

-situation normal, u-bam-a lies again
-US economy on verge of melt down, what is u-bam-a doing?
-where are the jobs, u-bam-a?
-why is the u-bam-a mob putting up so many smokecreens when none of them hide his FAILURE with the ECONOMY?
-It is the economy, stupid.
-when will u-bam-a stop taking credit for everything when he is not responsible for anything good?
-where were you really born, u-bam-a?

The facts no one wants to read.

Learn to think for yourself.

Censorship is evil.

Posted by ALLSOLUTIONS | Report as abusive
 

@flashrooster,

If one objectively judges Obama’s apparent agenda and priorities, they are entirely consistent with one most would define as a “socialist”. The truth is NOT an “extreme position”.

Opposing increases in the U.S. Debt Limit that have become routine and incontrovertible evidence that America is ever more spending more than it has, is NOT an “extreme position”. It is common sense absolutely essential to a sustainable future.

When our elected representatives of BOTH parties have lost both the ability to discern national NEEDS from national WANTS, and even to comprehend that it is long past time to adopt national priorities for available funding, the “answer” is not MORE TAXES. You don’t go faster when you KNOW you’re on the wrong road.

When American politicians and their administrative bureaucrats create their own alternate reality where a department’s “success” is judged by the number of people employed and the size of it’s budget, it’s time to apply an ax to the fiscal roots of such system. The most effective way to force them to do their job RIGHT is to shut off additional tax revenue until they can demonstrate for a reasonable period that they have learned how to use that mind-boggling amount presently being disbursed day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year both efficiently AND effectively. Not only must they do many things, but they must accomplish the RIGHT things with appropriate priority.

The argument that our infrastructure is being allowed to deteriorate at the federal level because of a lack of revenue tells me that those presently “representing we, the people” don’t have a clue as to why they were elected or whose interests come FIRST. Our crisis is not one of money nor is it one of morality. It is one of stupidity. Our “representatives” and their minions must not only look busy, but accomplish the RIGHT things with appropriate priority.

The “answer” is not in the trunk of an elephant or on the back of an ass, but in honest and serious debate as to what kind of country “we the people” WANT that we can afford to sustain. Until “we, the people” agree as to our NEEDS and require our politicians to meet such NEEDS within available funds, the size of our government and the taxes necessary to fund it are without limit.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@flashrooster,

If one objectively judges Obama’s apparent agenda and priorities, they are entirely consistent with one most would define as a “socialist”. The truth is NOT an “extreme position”.

Opposing increases in the U.S. Debt Limit that have become routine and incontrovertible evidence that America is ever more spending more than it has, is NOT an “extreme position”. It is common sense absolutely essential to a sustainable future.

When our elected representatives of BOTH parties have lost both the ability to discern national NEEDS from national WANTS, and even to comprehend that it is long past time to adopt national priorities for available funding, the “answer” is not MORE TAXES. You don’t go faster when you KNOW you’re on the wrong road.

When American politicians and their administrative bureaucrats create their own alternate reality where a department’s “success” is judged by the number of people employed and the size of it’s budget, it’s time to apply an ax to the fiscal roots of such system. The most effective way to force them to do their job RIGHT is to shut off additional tax revenue until they can demonstrate for a reasonable period that they have learned how to use that mind-boggling amount presently being disbursed day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year both efficiently AND effectively. Not only must they do many things, but they must accomplish the RIGHT things with appropriate priority.

The argument that our infrastructure is being allowed to deteriorate at the federal level because of a lack of revenue tells me that those presently “representing we, the people” don’t have a clue as to why they were elected or whose interests come FIRST. Our crisis is not one of money nor is it one of morality. It is one of stupidity. Our “representatives” and their minions must not only look busy, but accomplish the RIGHT things with appropriate priority.

The “answer” is not in the trunk of an elephant or on the back of an ass, but in honest and serious debate as to what kind of country “we the people” WANT that we can afford to sustain. Until “we, the people” agree as to our NEEDS and require our politicians to meet such NEEDS within available funds, the size of our government and the taxes necessary to fund it are without limit.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@VoteEducated: “Perhaps the fledgling revolt you see against the Democrats is the revolt against what many of us see as the creation or attempt to create an authoritarian state.”

Do you believe that a our current state of society “with the top 10% possessing 80% of all financial assets [and] the bottom 90% holding only 20% of all financial wealth.” (Wikipedia, “Wealth inequality in the United States”) is a democracy? I disagree. And yes, I will vote educated.

Posted by UauS | Report as abusive
 

@flashrooster,

If one objectively judges Obama’s apparent agenda and priorities, they are entirely consistent with one most would define as a “socialist”. The truth is NOT an “extreme position”.

Opposing increases in the U.S. Debt Limit that have become routine and incontrovertible evidence that America is ever more spending more than it has, is NOT an “extreme position”. It is common sense absolutely essential to a sustainable future.

When our elected representatives of BOTH parties have lost both the ability to discern national NEEDS from national WANTS, and even to comprehend that it is long past time to adopt national priorities for available funding, the “answer” is not MORE TAXES. You don’t go faster when you KNOW you’re on the wrong road.

When American politicians and their administrative bureaucrats create their own alternate reality where a department’s “success” is judged by the number of people employed and the size of it’s budget, it’s time to apply an ax to the fiscal roots of such system. The most effective way to force them to do their job RIGHT is to shut off additional tax revenue until they can demonstrate for a reasonable period that they have learned how to use that mind-boggling amount presently being disbursed day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year both efficiently AND effectively. Not only must they do many things, but they must accomplish the RIGHT things with appropriate priority.

The argument that our infrastructure is being allowed to deteriorate at the federal level because of a lack of revenue tells me that those presently “representing we, the people” don’t have a clue as to why they were elected or whose interests come FIRST. Our crisis is not one of money nor is it one of morality. It is one of stupidity. Our “representatives” and their minions must not only look busy, but accomplish the RIGHT things with appropriate priority.

The “answer” is not in the trunk of an elephant or on the back of an ass, but in honest and serious debate as to what kind of country “we the people” WANT that we can afford to sustain. Until “we, the people” agree as to our NEEDS and require our politicians to meet such NEEDS within available funds, the size of our government and the taxes necessary to fund it are without limit.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

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