Eschew obfuscation. It was everywhere in the 1960s: desktop paperweights, wall plaques and nearly every college dorm-room poster in some form or fashion. If it’s an unknown phrase today, then the word “unequivocal” should clarify its meaning. Or avoid Orwellian “double-speak.”
In short, tell the truth. Do not obfuscate or equivocate or double-talk. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
The Republican Party has mastered obfuscation. They have for years promoted the false economic theory that cutting taxes for the wealthy, increasing spending and growing the deficit is good for the American people. Spend money that we do not have. Don’t worry. It’ll all work out. Believe us. We’ve got this theory, you see.
It’s just like in my personal finances around that kitchen table Republicans are always talking about. When I run low on income, I put more and more on my credit cards. Why? Because using my credit will increase my monthly paycheck. Right?
If Congress will only cut taxes and increase spending on military and infrastructure and a border wall, then Americans will take that tax cut and invest it in new resources. So, for example, if I get a tax cut of $500, I will immediately call my investment adviser and ask for help in how to make a balanced investment of my tax savings. And, of course, whatever one’s tax saving is — $100, $200 and so on — all taxpayers will line up to see their investment advisers in order to make America great again.
This scenario is obfuscation in its purest form. To add to it, Congress also wants to cut corporate income taxes. And since corporations are basically individuals, we know they will also invest their tax savings for the good of America. And corporate investors, including share holders, will gladly refuse any tax cuts as dividends in order for the corporation to invest in itself.
If all this rambling sounds confusing, welcome to obfuscation.
For years, the Better Business Bureau and Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce have warned consumers that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true. Sadly, the Republican Party all the way back to Ronald Reagan has peddled this false idea into the American consciousness. Increase deficits (at least under Republicans): double, triple, whatever. It’s good for all Americans.
However, it’s important to note, few economists support so-called “supply-side economics” as a valid economic theory.
All my life growing up I was taught, as were many others, that I do not buy things for which I cannot pay. If I cannot pay for it, then I do without. The only exception is for necessities such as housing and transportation. But even here, I do not get more than I need or borrow more than I can repay.
In this season of good cheer, the message of Republican lawmakers, now quietly hammering out little differences between House and Senate tax-cut bills to the approval of our president, is spend, worry not. Put it all on your credit cards. Get whatever you want. And in January when the bills come due, you will be rich. There will be plenty of money to pay all the bills. And you will still be rich 10 or 15 years from now. Or perhaps not.
Meanwhile, let’s learn the meaning of the other word in the phrase — “eschew.” It worked well in the 1960s. Maybe it will work again.