Some argue that politicians lie because it's expected of them. It's as though they believe that, to paraphrase Colonel Jessups, played by Jack Nickolson in the movie A Few Good Men, We the People can't handle the truth.
I hope that isn't true. As a career military officer, I was trained to tell the truth, to admit my mistakes, own up to them, take corrective action, and “continue the march”. Lies and cover-ups have a nasty way of biting you at the most inopportune times when you go in harm's way. It's way too late in my life to take up lying now.
However, we can't begin correcting any of them if we can't talk about them honestly. Take, for example, unemployment. Just how bad is it, really?
According to the Department of Labor Statistics, unemployment in the United States is hovering at about 6.5% after peaking at nearly 10% in 2008 and 2009. Does that seem accurate to you? Look around you. Think of all the people you know who are unemployed or have been recently unemployed.
The basic calculation for unemployment is relatively simple: Divide the number of unemployed by the total size of the workforce. A problem arises when the experts begin adjusting the definitions of who is a member of the workforce and who is unemployed. Come on, that's simple isn't it? No, not really. These definitions are vastly different today from what they were as recently as when Bill Clinton was President. If you used the definitions then in effect, today's unemployment rate would be much higher.
Why would anyone change the definitions? Simple. No politician wants to be caught sitting on a major problem like rampant unemployment, especially when the rate of unemployment remains exceptionally high and for a long period of time.
Basically, I don't believe that we can address problems effectively when we hide the truth. We need to address them openly and honestly no matter how bad they are. You see, understanding a problem, measuring it accurately, is the first step in solving it. Covering up a cancer with cosmetics will never cure it.