Political jargon 101 | Bob Roegner

With the Legislature back in session and Congress in its typical disagreeable mood, I thought it might be helpful to review political terms you may be hearing.

In politics, it is easy to misunderstand what’s going on if you don’t understand the terminology. And sometimes politicians use words that sound good, but might have a different meaning than you think. Their goal is to get you to support their viewpoint.

Here are some quotes from politicians and some helpful clarifications.

• “We need to get rid of tax loopholes” — If I used it to lower my tax obligation, it’s a good loophole. If you use it, it’s a bad loophole because I have to make up the difference in what you don’t pay.

• “We need to improve government efficiencies” — This means cutting the government programs you don’t like, but that your opponents do like.

• “We should re-prioritize government spending” — See above

• “Wall Street vs. Main Street” — Wall Street are “bad guys” and Main Street are “good guys.”

• “Activist judges” — These are judges who authored an opinion you don’t like. “Judges who understand the law” are ones who authored an opinion you do like.

• “Job creators” — These are the saviors of our economy because they will employ us all. Or they might be “greedy big business owners” who want to cut family wage jobs and keep all the profits to pay their country club dues. It depends on who is doing the talking.

• “A reckless idea” — This is an idea you don’t like, but you want the listener to question the proponent’s sanity and fitness to go outside without adult supervision, so you add the word “reckless.”

• “A cruel decision” — This is a decision you disagree with, but you also want the other side to appear heartless and uncaring, as if they were throwing grandma out in the street. So you add the word “cruel.”

• “It is a reasoned, thoughtful approach” — This means that it’s my idea and I like it better than your idea, which of course, is not thoughtful or reasoned.

• “This program has bi-partisan support” — That means we got a couple of members of the other party to vote for it by promising them something.

• “This is a common sense approach to the problem” — At least it is to me. If you disagree, you obviously have no sense, common or otherwise.

Remember these phrases when listening to politicians.


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