Great insights from Allan H. Meltzer at the Hoover Institution:
Most of us learn at some point that politicians tell lies. We expect them to stop once they hold office or to face the consequences. In the past, politicians that violated the public trust resigned, most notably President Richard Nixon. Other lesser officials have also been punished for abusing public trust. No longer. In campaigns, and in office, politicians and their aides or supporters deliberately lie about matters of importance.
….The Obama administration lied to change a major foreign policy issue. Other lies are about less important but not unimportant issues. The French economist Thomas Piketty claimed that capitalism squeezes the middle and lower classes to favor the rich. Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century and other studies that followed supported that argument by relying on deceptive data—specifically, income before taxes and transfers. Critics pointed out that the case is much weaker if income after taxes and transfers is used, as it should be. That’s much closer to the receipts that people have. And the differences are large. Transfers that are not part of income before taxes amount to more than $1 billion annually. The top 20 percent of taxpayers paid 84 percent of all income taxes in recent years. And the derided top 1 percent paid 23.5 percent of the income tax.The failure to use income after taxes and transfers cannot be accidental. It seems to be a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. And it is not the only misuse of data. Much of the recent large rise in the income received by the top 1 or 10 percent results from the Federal Reserve’s policy of lowering interest rates and raising housing and stock prices.
…..Hillary Clinton proclaims almost daily that women receive only 78 percent of the income that men receive. Her message is so misleading as to be dishonest. The 78 percent number is the ratio of women’s to men’s median pay. It does not adjust for occupational and other differences in the work that men and women do. For example, skilled neurosurgeons and football, baseball, and basketball stars are men. Domestic workers and hospital cleaning crews are mainly women. A recent paper by Diana Furchtgott-Roth summarized studies at Cornell and other quality economic departments. When adjustment for occupational differences are considered, the ratio is 92 or 94 percent, not the advertised 78 percent. And the remaining difference may not be due to discrimination. Differences in time in the work force, hours worked, and other factors may play a role.
….These are just a few examples of lies and misleading statements that we encounter every day. Clinton lies frequently and Trump shouts a falsehood a day—and probably more—as a major part of his campaign. This is not what citizens of a free country should expect and demand.
….Free societies require truth and honesty.
Worth reading the entire article at: Lies Politicians Tell Us | Hoover Institution
Hat tip to David Kotok.