Monday, November 21, 2011

Cynical Lies and the Cynical Liar Who Tells Them

Since this is going to be a short week for me, I'm trying to get some stuff done in the office today (and failing spectacularly). That means I don't have a bunch of time for blogging (or do I? No, no I don't.), so I'll just jot down something I've been thinking about.

It seems pretty obvious that the "supercommittee" is neither super nor a committee. It's a collection of sound bytes about how the problem is the other side's fault. The decision has been made to miss the deadline and win voters next year.

And missing the deadline is not a bad thing. That means that the decision of what gets cut becomes automatic, getting out of the politically-inviable world of taking action against an entrenched interest.

The last time the specter of automatic cuts came up, the president said it would require withholding pay from military personnel. And that's the biggest thing I want to make sure everyone understands: THAT IS NOT TRUE.

Military pay would be withheld at the president's discretion. It wouldn't be a case of Obama saying, "Oh, I wish it didn't have to be this way." He would actively DECIDE to make it that way.

The problem is that the guy will do it in a heartbeat and lie about it for the next 11 months. Of all his lies ("I'm going to close Guantanamo," "My health-care law is deficit-neutral," "If you like your plan you can keep it"), this would be the worst, because it turns the lives of military personnel into a political tool. It would be like invading Canada to get a bump in the polls. If the public is fully informed, there will be no bump in the polls. Realize that military pay is a discretionary item when the automatic cuts kick in.

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