OpinionTrending Commentary

Government’s lack of accurate information is causing Americans to make bad decisions

Generally speaking, the more accurate information that a person has prior to making a decision, the better the decision is likely to be. That’s why it is so important that vital information, especially if it comes from a government source, be presented accurately, timely and unbiased. Our government leaders and much of the normally reliable sources, don’t seem to understand that.

Instead, information is biased and often inaccurate.  That leads Americans to form opinions and taking actions that they normally wouldn’t take. This misinformation and the behavior of our leaders, are really the source of the deep divisions in the country.

Much of this misinformation behavior leads to less than optimum solutions to the important problems that our elected officials are supposed to solve.

To find an optimum solution to problems where there are people with vastly different views, each person must enter the discussion with the intent of “ seeking a solution.” That is, the primary focus is on trying to find the best solution, no matter who puts forth the idea.

Instead, today, when our government leaders meet to solve a problem, each person tries to “sell a position.” Each side is sure they are right. They are equally sure the others are completely wrong. The “selling a position” mindset will always produce poorer solutions than the “seek a solution” mindset.

Selling a position means that the individual has already determined the outcome, even before complete information has been gathered. This applies when Congress undergoes an investigation.

For instance, Congress is setting up a commission to determine exactly what happened on January 6, when rioters stormed the Capital Building. Already we can see that Congress is not setting this up to seek the truth and a solution to what caused it. Rather each side is ready to sell their position to the public.

The Democrats are sure that former President Trump is guilty of inciting the insurrection. They believe this hearing will hold him accountable. Many think he is guilty of a crime and want the stage that this hearing will have to show the public. That will allow them to influence public opinion.

The Republicans say a thorough investigation is needed to see exactly who did what, especially concerning the individuals that were injured or killed. However, nothing Trump said incited anything. While he is not the clearest communicator, he did no wrong.

Americans just want to know the truth.  Who exactly did what. Congress should make all the evidence viewable to the public and let’s see what the investigation finds. Instead, we are likely to get two separate conflicting reports after numerous hours of televised testimony and shows of grandeur from our elected officials.

We Americans shelled out about $3.5trillion last year that we earned and gave to the federal government. For that huge sum of money we should at least get accurate information. Shockingly, the government managed to spend $6.5 trillion last year.

They financed this huge deficit by selling bonds either to the public or to the Federal Reserve who just electronically printed trillions of dollars. Was this a good idea or a bad idea? Should we keep doing this?

Some government officials tell us that more modern Monetary Theory says that we can do this. They say deficit spending will grow the economy without causing any inflation. This is true when the economy is operating at less than full capacity.

Other government officials say that huge government spending, coupled with the rapid growth in the money supply and the low interest rates will lead to very high inflation. This is especially true when we have an economy that is growing at about an 8% annual rate.

The problem is that each side is trying to sell its position. That mindset often clouds objectivity and leads to biased conclusions.

How about whether an individual should get vaccinated against Covid. Basically, each person weighs the pros and cons and makes a decision.  Based on the information that most people have, the risks associated with contracting covid are far greater than the risks associated with the vaccine.

Most adults have decided to get the vaccine.

There are, however large segments of the population who have gathered different information, some of it from government or other supposedly reliable sources. This information leads to exactly the opposite conclusion. They believe that since the risk of complications from the vaccine is great, they choose not to get vaccinated.

Some also argue that they have reliable information that says since they have already contracted the disease, there are sufficient antibodies present. Therefore they don’t need the vaccine.

Much of the available information is conflicting, Some of it has a definite bias. This results in misinformation that leads to bad decisions and eventually divisions.

Americans just want to know the truth and they want to clearly see all of the facts.

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Michael Busler

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.

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One Comment

  1. Are the “facts” really facts? FACTS wears many suits such as “What is proven to be”, what I hope is true, what I ‘want you’ to beleive etc

    Legislators were elected along party lines and must remain revelant even at the risk of being unfaithful to their own beliefs by following ‘party leaders’
    It’s a good bet that all newcomers recieve ‘instructions’ on vwhat is expected to stay in good graces of the party.

    The multible versions serve to confuse most people creting fear and doubt….making pragmatic thinking almost impossible…..Is this perhaps the real sales job?

    A confused nation is a weak nation…..and easily controlled

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