Did you ever wonder what real New Speak would look like? Look around. It is here.
In George Orwell's 1984, New Speak was a method to numb the senses and fog the truth so that the mushy contours of all definitions would melt together. When the Democrats say "Investment in our Future" they do not mean investment they mean spend. Actually they mean "collect from taxpayers and spend". They mean "borrow against our future and spend". They mean "pay off my supporters and spend". What did we get for the stimulus package? It was portrayed as an "Investment" in America, but it was pigs at the trough. Even casual consumers of news know that, but the Republicans need to start pointing this out in clear language and short sound bites. Americans crave straight talk and the Orwellian prose that come from this White House are just too unbelievable to ignore.
Last week, our president said that rich people WANT to pay more taxes, its just that they have not been asked. Really? Are taxes a matter of request, or is "ask" New Speak for "compel". Try the president's sentence out again and see if it makes any sense using the words that would be a fact if he had his way:
Rich people WANT to pay more taxes, its just that they have not been compelled!
The president said that we just cannot afford to "give" the richest Americans a tax cut. "Give"? That must be New Speak for "allow them to keep". You see, Most Rich Americans do not get a check from the government, they write checks to the government, and they are big checks! In New Jersey, where I live, I pay nearly 10% taxes on my income and another 10% on my property taxes. Add the 35% federal taxes I pay, and I have just become a junior partner in my own life!
Is that really my "fair share"?
In the middle ages, serfs had to give two days out of seven to the lord. Is my fair share that much greater than a period we refer to as near slavery?
Our president says that those more "fortunate" need to pay more. Fortunate is an interesting word in New Speak. I work sixty hours a week. Does that make me more fortunate? If someone goes to school until they are 26 and pays all the tuitions involved in that decision, are they more fortunate? In New Speak, the word fortunate strips all effort and all worth from the recompense. It reveals that your income is simply a roll of the dice.
If this is true, and it is the government's job to even out the outcome, then why should I work harder, or school longer or risk my name and capital in a new venture?
The amounts we talk about are no less confusing. The casual news consumer does not know the difference between 300 million and three billion or 300 billion. All of these numbers mean the same thing, ie. "More than I will ever have". We need to start referring to these numbers in a way that is more personal and meaningful even in a short sound clip. A billion dollars is worth three dollars to every man woman and child in America. The 38 billion budget reduction just saved $114 for every citizen, or $456 for a family of four. Now that amount means something. Comparisons are even more telling. Our 1.5 trillion dollar deficit cost $4,500 per person just last year or $18,000 per family of four. What could you do with $18 thousand in your pocket? A new car? A year of college? Heck, you could wall paper your living room with flat screen tvs. That is a number that we can all understand. That is a number that translates into conversation around the water cooler.
Now with a number we can use, how do Americans want to pay for that $18,000? We can charge the boss. He can then pay it, and cut salaries, or just let employees go, or move somewhere where he doesn't have to pay it. (And again jobs are lost.) We can charge taxpayers the 18 thousand, but since the average household only made 50 thousand last year, and is already paying taxes, that won't leave much for food and shelter. You see, when we break these amounts down to bite sized pieces, it is clear that we need a government that costs less to run. The 18 thousand needs to go away, not get paid for.
Our common sense is being clouded by the very definitions attached to words we used to know. If we do not remain vigilant, this New Speak will softly put us to sleep.