Am I hearing right?

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 21, 2005

Words have power and personality.

They have life beyond the brief moment it takes for them to appear in the world. As casual craftsmen of words, most of us don’t think about the impact that these offspring have once we loose them into space.

There are people, however, who give careful thought to the use of language.

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Parents have hope that the things they tell their children stick with them long enough to help keep them safe and out of trouble.

Professional writers are bent on forming creative combinations of words that inform and entertain and persuade. Salesmen use words to create excitement about products in the hopes we will rush to buy them.

Con men use words to deceive. Preachers use words to inspire belief. Teachers use words to form young minds. Politicians use words with all the skill of parents, writers, salesmen con-men, preachers and teachers to keep themselves and their Party in a good light. Words can give us clear direction or, like the instructions on children’s toys and assembly-required furniture, they can leave us muddled and confused.

Lately, there have been words used in the local and national media that leave me feeling as ignorant and frustrated as the time I tried to put together a Barbie doll penthouse and a Transformer train set in the same night.

To add to my chagrin, these words come from men who are supposed to know what they are talking about.

We count on them to give it to us straight, but lately it is hard to know if they are trying to inform or deceive.

I felt addlepated when reading about our state

legislators considering the idea of re-instituting the reduction of the car tax.

Did not these same men just scrounge for money to erode deficits and build a budget surplus?

Can’t they do the math that predicts another deficit if they follow this course of action?

Thank goodness Suffolk Delegate Chris Jones has enough sense to see the writing on the wall and exercise restraint in a time of plenty. There are unmet needs for transportation, health care and education that the legislature can address with a one time allocation that would make a lot more sense than putting minimal dollars in our pockets.

Governor Gilmore’s plan was misguided and to resurrect it would be irresponsible. Our legislators speak of returning money to the people while economists predict another shortfall in six years if that path is followed.

Then there is the president peddling his ideas for Social Security reform. I have only heard ideas, not a real plan that spells out the complicated details.

He actually said on national television that individuals would have an opportunity to access private equity investments that would guarantee adequate returns and no losses.

I want to know the fund that offers that guarantee because that is where I will invest all the money I can spare.

I also want to know where the financial geniuses who concocted this investment strategy were while Mr. Bush was running up the biggest deficit in history.

Could it be this information is only meant to feed the masses what they want to hear?

Are these messages delivered with a combination of parental concern to make us feel protected and authority to make us feel stupid?

One thing is sure.

These words are crafted to persuade without a grain of concern for adequately informing citizens and incorporating sound economic practices that will serve the interests of our commonwealth and our nation.

Beverly Outlaw is a resident of Suffolk.