Truth Is For Suckers
By Tom Sullivan
December 28, 2010 - 4:12pm ET
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The other day Paul Krugman related how people “just won’t believe me” when he tries to correct their misimpression of a huge expansion in government employment under the Obama administration. That misinformation is a recent feature in the speeches of Republican presidential hopefuls, Krugman writes, even while government employment (including among state and local employees) has actually gone down.
There was, however, a large blip in federal employment seized on in conservative circles as proof that Big Government is back. But the blip was temporary workers hired for the 2010 census. Krugman observes,
Is it really possible that the authors of those articles and speeches about soaring public employment didn’t know what was going on? Well, I guess we should never assume malice when ignorance remains a possibility.
But Krugman left out a third possibility. His column reminded me of the 1978 “Great Pool Shootout,” as ABC’s Wide World of Sports billed the live tournament between fifteen-time world straight pool champion, Willie Mosconi, and well-known pool hustler, Minnesota Fats. A relentless self-promoter, Limbaugh-like with a touch of W.C. Fields, Fats was asked beforehand if he practiced much. The hustler replied with characteristic bombast, “Practice is for suckers.” Mosconi won the contest in three straight sets.
Which is why one need not invoke ignorance or malice to explain the behavior of politicians and conservative think tanks – Krugman calls them “humbug factories.” They are hustlers. Truth is for suckers.
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