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There are all kinds of variations on the theme of the three big lies that people tell in the normal course of day-to-day life.


One of our favorite sets consists of:


1)    This is for your own good.

2)    It’ll be done by 3:00

3)    It must be true; I heard it on the news.


In the old days there was another one that was exceedingly popular. It was “The check is in the mail,” but nowadays nobody much sends checks in the mail, so we’d offer a replacement for that one: “The check is being processed.”


Those deceits, of course, are generic in nature. But over the years we’ve been collecting a series of mantras about the alleged reality of state and local government that don’t necessarily work in the real world. We’ve heard them from people at all levels of government, sometimes from established authorities and sometimes from people who just pretend they understand the way government works.  Here are our top twelve. We’d be interested in hearing additional ones from readers of this B&G Report.


Of course, some of the dozen items that follow are valid sometimes.  But we’ve heard them repeatedly when ample evidence demonstrates that they’re wide of the mark.

By the way, we hesitate to use the word “lies,” here. As that word seems to have become widely open to interpretation these days; and it’s frequently used just to describe something with which the accuser disagrees.  So, just to be specific, what follows are explanations about the way things work that are frequently NOT the way things work. And the list is based on both our own experience, and the understanding of states and localities we’ve accumulated over the last thirty years.

1.      “We know we are in financially sound shape because we have to pass a balanced budget.”


2.     “It’s impossible to fire a public sector employee.”


3.     “We’ll solve this problem by setting up a commission. Or a study group.”


4.     “Our transparency website means our government is transparent.”


5.     “Buying new technology will be the key.”


6.     “Merit pay is pay based on merit.”


7.     “The key reason we have a huge unfunded liability in our pensions, is that our benefits are too rich.”


8.     “You should just look at the general fund in order to analyze our city or state’s financial condition.”


9.     “You can always trust our data.”


10.    “Government can be run like a business.”


11.    “Everything we need to know is on the Internet.”


12.    "Once a piece of legislation is passed that means that something is really going to happen.”



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