Voters have come to expect politicians to frame arguments in a way that supports their position. Unfortunately, too many politicians are too generous with their definition of an “honest” discussion.
For example, a recent tweet from Michigan Rep.Tim Walberg, R-Tipton:
Today I voted to stop @whitehouse’s executive action to raise Congressional pay. Washington doesn’t need a pay raise
In these difficult economic times most would probably agree with Walberg that Congress doesn’t need (deserve) a pay raise.
Of course if Rep. Walberg was being completely honest he would have also mentioned that the executive action from the White House was for all civil federal employees and that Congress could have easily excluded themselves while leaving the raise for the other 2 million federal employees.
The representative could have also included a few other relevant facts that would have made his “courageous” position seem a little less patriotic – such as the fact that pay for these federal employees has been frozen for the last two years and that the raise in question was only 0.5 percent compared to a nearly 2 percent annual increase in the private sector pay rate and a 3.6 increase cost of living increase for Social Security recipients.
It should also be noted that this incremental increase would only cost the government $10 billion over 10 years, while eliminating the capital gains tax – a move Tim Walberg supports and made an integral part of his election campaign – would cost 100 times as much, or 1 trillion over the same time frame.
Both ideas accomplish the same goal of getting additional money into the hands of taxpayers who will theoretically spend it. The big difference is Walberg supports $1 trillion dollars in lost revenue if it benefits the very rich while he opposes a fraction of that government spending if members of the working class are the main beneficiaries.
If Rep. Walberg doesn’t think 2 million working class Americans deserve a few hundred dollars in their pay checks this year, that’s fine. He should tweet that for all to see.
But in these tough economic times we should expect better from our elected officials than dishonest, campaign-style rhetoric attacking our civil servants.