On fooling enough of the people, enough of the time

Jonathan Chait in the New Republic provides a truly chilling account of Bush administration mendacity on the budget situation. We’ve gone from “deficits aren’t going to happen, even if the economy softens” to “projections of deficits are guesswork” to “any deficits will be small and temporary” to “deficits don’t matter.”

The horrible thing is that no one cares. Everyone who cared to know knew that the Bush budget plan was a pack of lies from its inception. This reminds me of my favorite mistranslation from Machiavelli (The Prince, Chapter 18):

“Men are so simple, and so dominated by their present needs, that whoever wishes to deceive will always find another who wishes to be deceived.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com