Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Politicians lie to reporters and then believe what they read in the newspapers."

The quotation in the headline is variously ascribed to Winston Churchill and Benjamin Disraeli, hypothesizing how governments are constantly surprised by world events.

In the present economic upheaval, I believe that President Obama sincerely believes the untruths that he tells.

President Obama, his senior advisers and senior bureaucrats do not live with the uncertainties of normal Americans. Their salaries and pensions are guaranteed. The perquisites of their job - cars, airplanes, security, entertainment - are virtually unquestioned. They get and keep their jobs by a process of risk-aversion and risk-management that would guarantee failure anywhere but in a government bureaucracy.

Normal people are an abstract curiosity to them. Moreover, Barack Obama has an unusual personal history that removes him even further from the experience of 99.999% of Americans.

So, Obama and his staff do what educated people are trained to do: they do studies and analyze data. Then, Obama and his staff do what politicians have always done, they manipulate the data.

The economic policies put in place by Barack Obama have not been focused on improving the living conditions of his constituents.

They have been narrowly focused on improving the economic indicators.

Why? Because improving the economic indicators is easier, more measurable and less messy.
And because it is easy, in the government environment, to forget that the indices are not reality.

Is Barry lying when he says things are better? I don't think so. I think that he honestly believes that the map is the territory, that people live by the economic indicators - that things are better.

What he "knows" and how he "knows" it are the issue/opportunity/problem here. The only reality check is an election. And elections do not give reality checks to the 98% of the bureaucratic iceberg that is unelected.

How knowledge is recognized, used and transmitted - meet the many-headed hydra of

UPDATE: A few days after this posting, the Washington Post picked up on it:

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