Two recent columns from Thomas Sowell are worth a look. The first decodes President Obama's language of "fair," "balanced," and "clean":
President Obama's big pitch in his Monday night televised talk was that what is needed to deal with the national debt crisis is a "balanced" approach -- not just spending cuts but revenue increases as well.
What could sound more reasonable -- especially to those who have not been following what Obama has actually been doing and not doing? This is the same Barack Obama who, earlier this year, called for a "clean" increase in the national debt ceiling.
In this context, the soothing word "clean" referred to an increase in the national debt ceiling without any provisos. That is, no spending cuts at all. In other words, a blank check to keep spending. How balanced is that?
Another word that sounds good to people who don't stop and think is "fair." President Obama says that he only wants the wealthiest Americans to pay their "fair share." But he says zilch about just what that fair share is, or even how to determine it.
The second assesses Speaker Boehner's debt ceiling and deficit reduction bill:
Is the Boehner legislation the best legislation possible? Of course not! You don't get your heart's desire when you control only one house of Congress and face a presidential veto.
The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one's power. Nor is it selling out one's principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions....Writers can advocate things that have no chance at the moment, for their very writing about those things persuasively can make them possible at some future date. But to adopt the same approach as an elected member of Congress risks losing both the present and the future.