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Stick with candidates who provide fiscal details

Published 9:56am Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Point of View by Jerrold Dettle

Does it seem to you that “quality” people are often the citizens most easily duped or deceived? If this is a true statement, then voters who are so-called honest people tend to be more trusting of others.

Jerrold Dettle
Jerrold Dettle

Ergo, would it follow that these same citizens likewise have a proclivity to select and choose politicians that depend heavily on pomp and promotion and depend less on logical evaluations and well designed solutions.

The purpose of this article is to show that frequently a politician whose campaign chooses pomp and emotion to influence a voter falls short in planning and developing sound economic policies for the electorate. The campaigner who is not afraid to describe a somewhat detailed economic plan for the voter will respond more intelligently to the financial crises when it occurs.

Constitutionally, those we elect to the House of Representatives and to the Oval Office carry more responsibility for fiscal direction than members of a state or national senatorial branch of government.

Historically, we can review the merits of a few politicians. Trying to ignore partly labels, review the economic performance of the following leaders while they were in office:  Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.

Generally, historians agree that these leaders revealed economic plans while campaigning, and for the most part retained their policies while in office.  Now review the campaigns of Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Many agree that the first group planned a fiscal direction, while the second group appeared directionless.

Currently the condition of the economy and the resulting job market seems to have all of us perplexed. We hear from St. Paul and Washington that all is well. Polls show that a majority of Americans feel we are tilting toward economic disaster. Let’s look at specific examples of deceit. Correlate the relationship between a politician’s campaign and actions in office.

Elected leaders have told us that the Social Security “trust fund” is doing well. Hello!  There is no trust fund and there never has been a trust fund. Social Security is an entitlement program where retiree benefits are paid by the current workforce. The continued solvency of the program is very tenuous.  Another example is millions were told by politicians that General Motors would be here forever, and you can bet your savings on it. Many did and many lost everything!

Also, Detroit was once a shining city on an eternal hill.  When it largely became a desolate ghost town, many mayors gave their “plans” without details, and thus, billions of dollars have been scammed from hard-working citizens. All of the so-called “plans” have failed repeatedly.

A well-meaning Detroit leader recently reported that there is another “new plan.” He espoused vague information and sincerely felt that it would succeed. Really?

Recently, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran some very big stories gloating about the job situation in Minnesota. No doubt it feels good to have someone gloat about our home state; however, regarding jobs in Minnesota, the devil is in the details.

For example, the widespread media headline recently stated  “Minnesota adds 8,500 jobs, unemployment down to 4.5 percent.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota’s population has grown in the last 13 years by 331,631 people. However, also according to the Census Bureau, the number of employed people in Minnesota has dropped by 36,480 during the same period.

Do the math!

One can see that the headline was deceptive. The reluctance by government to provide the public with these additional statistics confirms a misleading press release. If the intent is to configure statistics to make citizens feel positive, that can be a plus, but why manipulate the facts and alter reality?

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in the same 13-year period, part-time jobs in the U.S. have grown 30 percent. Part-time jobs are lumped with the full-time positions when the number of jobs is reported. Adding to this disparity is the reality that many individuals work two part-time jobs trying to support a family.

The manipulation does not stop there!  Mark Duggan, professor at the Wharton School of Economics stated on NPR last week that the U.S. Citizens on disability have doubled in the last 15 years.  Those individuals who have dropped out of the workforce are not included in calculating the unemployment rate.

These are examples of state and federal government providing misleading statistics because they have the power to do so. Start tomorrow and read news reports carefully to identify deceptive use of statistics.  If you are concerned, evaluate the source of the report and then identify the politician or leaders who stand to benefit from the manipulation.

Look for the candidates who provide detailed and specific plans for action, rather than those who utilize emotional sound bites and manipulate statistics.


Albert Lea resident Jerrold Dettle is a member of the Freeborn County Republican Party.