Wednesday, September 14, 2011

PA GOP launching a war on words

Despite their frequent and fruitless efforts, with the GOP at the helm I think little threat exists that English will be declared the official language of Pennsylvania. If it were, it would be more challenging for Republican lawmakers themselves to misrepresent the rhetoric they’ve embraced since January.

The GOP has made distorting definitions an art form.

For instance House leaders wouldn't be able to characterize the expiration of federal stimulus dollars as a "federal cut" anymore. ARRA was a one-time grant for states to use, not money states could count on forever. So GOP claims of “cuts” from the feds are misleading and disingenuous.

For a time it was trendy in GOP circles to congratulate one another for restoring education funding -- which left everyone else in PA scratching their heads because everyone knows the GOP supported a $1 BILLION CUT in education. Only in the GOP alternate universe can you claim a massive reduction is actually a restoration.

More GOP-speak is the use of the word "gimmick." By House and Gov. Corbett’s standards “gimmick” easily translates into whatever tactic the opposition (be it Senate Republicans, Democrats, or the federal government) is using to make their point, no matter how logical and sound, it’s a gimmick.

Also in the world of Republican rule, there is no such thing as a surplus (except when one of your leaders slips up and calls it a surplus). New lingo: “revenue over estimate” made its appearance last spring in order to describe the excess taxpayer funds now sitting in a government bank account waiting for a rainy day while our kids endure larger class sizes, people can’t afford health care, and entire communities have literally been underwater.

Also in the gun toting, papers-checking, rights-denying Pennsylvania imagined by some lawmakers, the GOP used some "fuzzy math." You can call a $27.6 Billion budget a $27.1 Billion budget; and you can characterize an $800 million bonus depreciation giveaway to big business as only $200 million. In their minds, it all adds up.

Speaking of adding up, under Gov. Corbett the Harrisburg colloquialism formerly known as "WAMS," has been renamed and redistributed. Under new management WAMS have become the Liberty Loan Fund (synonym: slush fund).

With an obvious flair for deceptive communications in their first year, I can barely wait to see how many new words and phrases crop up in 2012. One thing is clear, while Republicans rewrite the dictionary and Senor Metcalfe tries to score an appearance on Fox News, both are distractions from solving the Commonwealth’s actual challenges.