Lies, damned lies and government statistics

Do you count yourself among the perceptive souls who know why many Americans don’t trust their government? If so, let me borrow your attention for a few moments. It has been said there are lies, damned lies and government statistics. Damned lies are a higher, more devious gradation beyond simple lies. Government statistical lies are especially capricious, because they involve broken fiduciary obligations by those we’ve trusted to exercise such duties.

Americans are entitled to a government that does not lie to its citizens, even one that does not spin its actions by omitting failures and embellishing victories. Government lies are serious when unchallenged, because increased acceptance of such lies exposes a nation in decline.

If today’s examples of the U.S. government’s damned lies tell us anything, it’s that they occur when politicians put their personal interests above the public good by manipulating public opinion.

unemployment-line
Photo credit: www.labor.mo.gov

Most egregious is the government’s figures on economic indicators, including unemployment, inflation, cost of living indices, jobs and taxes — statistics that disguise the true picture. The feds measure inflation using the Consumer Price Index, a seriously dishonest statistic whose definition changes nearly every year. Housing prices, fuel and food are no longer measured in the index calculations, resulting in gross distortions since price increases in those important measures are all but ignored.

Employment statistics are a huge lie, because such numbers do not accurately count all the people who are out of work, those looking for a job or those who have given up. The true number of unemployed and underemployed workers is double or triple the figure reported by the government.

The government lies about generating jobs, which are created from economic growth. Growth in the economy comes from productivity, and government is never a source of goods. Everything produced is made by people, and what government gives to people it must first take from people. Government is a burden on growth, because it creates debt, taxes and regulations.
For years, people in the executive and legislative branches have campaigned on promises to reform the 100-year-old tax law that terrorizes taxpayers. Reforms rarely work. Riddled with loopholes, reforms are enacted every year, but they fail both the fairness and efficiency tests because the primary intent of such reforms is to deliver for incumbents the campaign contributions they need to be re-elected.

One of the bigger lies involves the Federal Reserve. First, it’s not a federal body, because Federal Reserve banks are private corporations owned by stockholders (banks). Next, it has no reserves, but instead prints whatever money it needs out of thin air.

America’s national debt and budget deficits are far higher than politicians say they are. Expenditures are underreported, and material information about Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare is not disclosed. In the past decade, according to Barron’s, the feds spent more than $88 trillion, while revenues were about $22 trillion. The federal government’s existing legal obligations, meanwhile, exceeded $90 trillion.

The executive branch is lying about how extensively the government collects information on citizens’ finances, private communications and medical records. It’s not a stretch to say the feds are spying on everyone. The Weekly Standard reported in 2013 that in one section of the Obamacare website’s source code, directed to account users, it said, “You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data … stored on this information system.”

Since the deadly 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, declassified documents show that White House military men and a member of Obama’s Cabinet knew it qualified as a terrorist attack. Yet the White House lied for two weeks to cover up the real motivation for the incident by blaming a video for causing it.

With the Internet, large percentages of Americans now know about these lies, making it harder for the liars to hide the truth.

What’s amusing is when liberal friends claim to be puzzled about surveys showing Americans don’t trust or support the federal government. Some liberals imply this is unpatriotic behavior. When I hear that, I remind them of Mark Twain’s comment: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

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John R. Smith

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