The sad truth is you just can't trust the U.S. government.
Candidates lie when they campaign. And the lying doesn't stop once they make it into office...
Show me an honest politician, and I might faint on the spot.
The latest lie that's getting publicized is a real shocker.
As it turns out, the unemployment rate includes numbers that are routinely fudged. And the depth of the deception may have been enough to push the unemployment rate from 8.1 to 7.8 in September 2012.
That was two months before a presidential election that was being decided by how much progress was being made on the U.S. economy.
Now, I can't say that this one data point was enough to sway an entire election; but I do remember it being used to show that the economy was improving...
If what the New York Post is reporting is true — that Census employees routinely falsify survey results that are used to calculate the unemployment rate — then the Obama administration will have even more problems on its already heaping plate.
War on Lies
The author's anonymous source was told “... to make up information by higher-ups at Census.”
So, I don't know if the president knew or not. And in a way, it doesn't matter. Like the coach of a football team, President Obama is ultimately responsible for what happens under his watch.
Fudging a few numbers on a Census survey may not seem like a big deal, but there a lot of potential tails to this, beyond whether it changed the outcome of an election.
What if the Fed is making trillion-dollar decisions on the basis of bad information?
What if Congress has jobs legislation on the back burner because it seems like the economy is improving?
The U.S. has gone to war on the basis of lies at least twice.
As any parent can tell you, kids will lie until there is an incentive not to. It seems to me that the Obama administration has not seen any real consequences for deception.
So it continues.
For instance, to help ObamaCare pass, Obama repeatedly told us that if we liked our health insurance, we could keep it. That wasn't true. And it's really hard to believe that he didn't know that millions of Americans had health insurance plans that his signature law would later deem inadequate.
Then we have the case of the IRS, threatening to take away the tax-exempt status of certain conservative groups.
Clearly something was wrong with the early reports on the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
Then there was “Fast and Furious,” the CIA operation that used $10 million in stimulus money to send guns to Mexican drug cartels so we could track them. (One of these guns was used to kill a U.S. agent. Whoops.)
And what about the NSA spying scandal?
I can tell you that one has cost some of my Wealth Advisory subscribers some money — around $3 a share — because we had Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) in the portfolio.
We had a nice 41% gain going on the stock, until it reported third quarter earnings last week...
They were a disaster: Revenue from China was down 18%, Brazil was down 25% and Russia was down 30%. Cisco was forced to lower total revenue estimates by up to 10% in the current quarter.
Because these countries don't trust that Cisco equipment hasn't been bugged by the NSA in order to spy on them.
Cisco was a $24 stock before that earnings report. Today it's $21 a share.
I have to tell my readers to sell shares of a good company because I can't say how long the fallout from the NSA spying debacle will last. (At least we will still make out with approximately 30% gains.)
Lying? Or Just Incompetent?
I suppose you could say that Obama and his administration are just incompetent (though that might actually be worse).
I mean, it's one thing to think that a person might be so power hungry that they will say anything to achieve their goals. It's far less forgivable for a person to be incompetent.
Personally, I never had in for President Obama and his administration. But the use of drones to execute people without trials — even American citizens, the failure to close Guantanamo Bay, the failure to prosecute a single Wall Street investment banker who contributed to the financial crisis of 2008-2009...
It seems to me there is pattern here. And it's not a good one.
Of course, it wouldn't be the first time we've been lied to by a sitting president...
George W. Bush told us Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Bill Clinton told us he did not have sex with that woman.
George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan lied about selling arms to Iran in order to send aid to Nicaragua's Contras.
Johnson lied about attacks on American forces in the Gulf of Tonkin, using a fictitious North Vietnam naval attack to justify escalation.
The list goes on and on. In fact, it may be hard to name a president who didn't lie to the American people at some point.
Maybe it's true that power corrupts.
All I know is that, as an American citizen, I'm getting pretty tired of it.
Can't we get some honest politicians?
Some leaders with a real sense of morality?
An 18-year veteran of the newsletter business, Briton Ryle is the editor of The Wealth Advisory income stock newsletter, with a focus on top-quality dividend growth stocks and REITs. Briton also manages the Real Income Trader advisory service, where his readers take regular cash payouts using a low-risk covered call option strategy. He also contributes a weekly column to the Wealth Daily e-letter. To learn more about Briton, click here.