Misleading and deceptive political facts and figures

It is a very common thing among politicians and their supporters to bring out certain facts and figures to support their stances on certain issues. For instance, the governor of my state of Minnesota and his supporters have been on cloud nine since it was revealed that our state has a huge surplus of 1.9 billion dollar surplus. Of course, all the credit should clearly go to the governor and his policies, right? Little is said about the fact that under his watch, we had one of the biggest tax increases ever in the state of Minnesota. Anyone with an education level of at least 3rd grade will understand that you will get a surplus if you have a huge tax increase. The question is, will this policy continue to work in the long run and is it sustainable? Of course not!! People who want to pat these politicians on the back for doing such a great job, very conveniently fail to leave some of these details. Many states have enjoyed good economic news recently mainly because of the lower gas prices, not because of the policies of their leaders.

The same deception applies when talking about the unemployment numbers. Whenever I hear the president or a governor of a state brag about the dropping unemployment numbers, I just shake my head and dismiss it as more misleading rhetoric. We have the smallest labor participation rate since the 1970’s not only here in my state, but all around the country. The unemployment rate now does not include those who have dropped out of the workplace. It would be wonderful to know what the real unemployment rate is in this country. It certainly cannot be very good based on the high number of people still receiving food stamps. Furthermore, when these politicians talk about all the jobs that are being created, what kind of jobs are being created? Are they high paying jobs with good benefits or just some low wage part-time jobs. In my state of Minnesota and throughout the country, the average household income has dropped in the last 5 years. Try telling some adult working a couple of part-time jobs just to support their family that the economy is booming.

One of my favorites among politicians and their supporters is when they criticize some other politician or party for giving a tax cut to the wealthy or cutting funding to schools. Why is it that people constantly think that pouring a bunch of money into education will yield success? Why should a politician be labeled as anti-education when instead of pouring more money into the bottomless pit know as education, he or she wants to gives students more choices to further their education? The rich and wealthy are always targets to raise taxes, just ask those who live here in my state. They are the ones who pay the most taxes by far, invest and start up companies which create jobs. Why would should they be the ones being punished? Of course if some politician wants to ease their tax burden slightly so they have a greater chance of investing and helping some average Joe or Jane get a job, they are labeled as evil for giving tax breaks to the rich.

The worst and most deceptive move by politicians is when they brag about giving a tax break to middle class families after raising their taxes the previous few years. This certainly is the case with regards to property taxes. A governor will brag about cutting property taxes and helping out middle class folks one year after severely raising taxes for years. Unless you do not return to the previous rates before the tax hikes, don’t go around and brag about how you have helped me!!

A person really has to be careful with all this political propaganda floating around. In all fairness, both sides of the political spectrum are very guilty of being deceptive with facts and figures. It is why people are becoming less and less trusting of government and their leaders. These acts of deception only go so far. People are not as dumb as some politicians believe they are. As Abe Lincoln once said “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.

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