What politicians tell you is not necessarily so.

What is perception and what is reality in Congress? Does anybody know?
What is perception and what is reality in Congress? Does anybody know?


The most talked about perception in recent memory is that the sequestration involved disastrous cuts in spending that would bring the country to its knees. This lie has been repeated ad nauseam. Reality: There are no real cuts to spending, just reductions in the rate of increase in spending. i.e…. we have more money to spend now than we did before, just not as much more as we planned.

It is true that some specific things were cut (in defense, mostly) but that was a matter of selectively targeting specific areas to create the most publicity and the most pain, not because there was less money to spread around. The administration chose to make high profile, publicity-garnering reductions in the rate of growth of spending, rather than scaling back in bloated areas. It’s Kabuki theater disguised as budget cuts. It’s so much easier to call them cuts rather than “reductions in the rate of increase”. So let’s just call them slowdowns for short.

Perception: Sequestration was Congress’s idea (specifically Republicans). Our president has said so repeatedly. Reality: The idea and onerous design came from the administration (the brainchild of Jack Lew, the current Treasury Secretary). Members of Congress are not without guilt, of course, but they did try to give the president the flexibility to take away the most painful (and stupid) reductions and to move them to bloated areas where real cuts could and should be made. He declined, preferring to cause as much publicity and pain as possible and blame it on the opposing party.

How about green energy subsidies? Perception: They help the environment and create jobs. Just ask the recently retired energy department head. Reality: Subsidies failed by any reasonable measure, costing taxpayers hundreds of billions. We keep subsidizing, so perception wins.

Stimulus? Perception: It works. Reality: Short term gain for long term pain. History tells us they never work long term. The latest one did not work and was filled with pork and waste.

Perception: Comprehensive when referring to laws is a good thing. Reality: Never. Trying to solve multiple problems with one bill results in a bureaucratic, bloated, expensive nightmare. For every page of a bill, twenty to 100 pages of regulations will be issued. The 2700 page Obamacare is already up to 25,000 pages of regs. And this does not count numerous court challenges and decisions that are bound to come. Not to mention the pork and political payoffs that are hidden inside all big bills.

Almost every piece of huge legislation has been nearly impossible to understand and impossible to administer. Unintended consequences from such legislation are almost always disastrous. Witness what’s happening now to Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act. And we ain’t seen nothing yet.  The gang of eight bill is another example of bloated legislation.

Perception: Legislation is written by members of Congress. Reality: The vast majority is written by young lawyers and clerks buried in the bowels of congress—people who rarely have world experience. Elected people almost never read the bills and the ones who do read them seldom understand them.

Recent newsflash—market index (DJIA) is up today from their 2009 lows a range of 150-160%. Wow. Perception: The stock market is the place to be for great gains. Reality: From 2007 highs, the markets are up by about 2.8%!  2.8% over 5.5 years is about a half percent a year.

Credit Card abuse at IRS.  Acting commissioner Werfel (say it fast and it sounds like waffle—and does he remind you of Pee Wee Herman or it is just me?) investigated his own organization and found (surprise!) 99.75% of use is within guidelines. Perception: It’s just a tiny bit of abuse. Reality: First, how could he know? Answer—he cannot since he could not or would not stop the .25% abuse. Second—that .25% can amount to millions. Third—Why do so many IRS agents need credit cards and do they not know how easy to curb abuse. Businesses do it every day.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (the previously mentioned author of the sequester) has done another incestuous investigation of the IRS scandal and found no evidence of “political motivation” behind the targeting of conservative and religious groups. How stupid is this guy? Okay, maybe he isn’t stupid, but he sure thinks we are. What the White House calls a “phony scandal” is tyranny and sets a terribly dangerous precedent if we don’t stop it in its tracks. Are you as tired as I am of being force-fed drivel? And the IRS will soon control our healthcare.

New immigration bill. Perception: Social Security (payroll taxes) paid by legalized immigrants will increase government revenue.  Reality: SS payments are supposed to go into a trust fund not available for general expenses. It is not revenue (yes, I know that Congress regularly raids the fund). Also, low income wage earners (on average) take out much more than they put in. So they represent added expenses and a larger deficit for social security, not the opposite.

Perception: Newly legalized immigrants will increase income tax revenue (shame on you Rubio, Graham, Flake and McCain—we expect this kind of nonsense from radicals like Schumer et al, but you should know better). Reality: Low income workers (50% of all taxpayers) pay no income taxes and a large portion actually collect refunds for earned income credit and for dependents. The IRS, for example, sent 24,000 refund checks to the same address last year, all made out to illegals with fake names and social security numbers.

Polls show most Americans prefer a path to citizenship for immigrants. Perception: We don’t have one. Reality: We have one now and have always had one. Thousands of immigrants chose that legal “path” to come to America. But that path is littered with bureaucrats holding stop signs and yield to stupidity signs.  The follow-the-law folks who want to come to America legally are punished with years of bureaucratic delays, some for a decade or longer.

Solution offered by politicians: Pass a bloated bill full of pork and vague language that gives the people who came here illegally (primarily folks who are at the bottom of the economic scale) preference over those who chose legality (primarily folks at the top of the education and economic scale). Reality: How about passing a law that knocks down a few bureaucrats standing in the way of legal immigrants. Give the folks who will actually contribute to our economy preference over illegal aliens. How about just strengthening and enforcing the laws we already have on the books even before we spend billions on fences.

This is two weeks of news and I am not done yet. Stay alert. Pay attention. Stop the drivel.

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