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Fun on Friday: Politicians Lie

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I have some sobering news for you.

Politicians lie.

No, no, not just the politicians you don’t like. I mean pretty much all of them – with a few rare exceptions. It’s like part of the political DNA.

If you follow SchiffGold News, you know Sunday was the 50th anniversary of President Nixon closing the “gold window” and cutting the final tether between gold and the dollar.

Nixon delivered a national TV address to announce the move. In the first 1:18, he told two big whoppers.

First, Nixon promised the action would be temporary in order to “defend the dollar against the speculators.” Fifty years later, this “temporary” action remains in place. It just goes to prove that nothing is as permanent as a “temporary” government program, as Milton Friedman once said.

Second, Nixon said, “Let me lay to rest the bugaboo of what is called devaluation,” and  he promised, “your dollar will be worth just as much as it is today.”

Well, not so much.

The dollar has lost more than 85% of its value since Nixon’s fateful decision. The purchasing power of a 1971 dollar is equal to about 15 cents today.

I could run down a whole litany of politician lies.

How about, “Read my lips, no new taxes!”

Or, “Mission accomplished.”

They even wrap the laws they pass in lies. Consider Obama’s “affordable” care act.

This leads me to a theory. It may be harsh, but I think it holds up.

Most politicians are sociopaths.

Too far?


When I was a kid, I actually believe that government officials got their positions because they were exceptionally smart and knew a lot about the issues. I imagined them uniquely qualified to make policy. I think a lot of adults still believe this fairytale.

But after working with politicians at every level of government for over a decade, I can emphatically tell you a lot of them don’t know squat about squat. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve literally had to explain to a bill sponsor what their own bill was intended to do. And this has happened more than once. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems less than ideal.

Here’s the ugly truth — most politicians don’t get into office because they are smart or knowledgeable about the issues. The vast majority get into office because they are good at two things.

  1. Raising money.
  2. Convincing people to vote for them.

Neither of those skill-sets screams “trust me to run your life.”

These skills also incentivize lying. And so — politicians lie.

On a side note, I don’t think anybody is qualified to run my life other than me. But that’s the subject of a different article.

But a sociopath? You might be thinking that’s a bit of hyperbole. But look at these characteristics of a sociopath and then tell me a lot of politicians don’t fit the bill.

  • Glibness and Superficial Charm
  • Manipulative and Conning
  • They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
  • Grandiose Sense of Self
  • Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
  • Pathological Lying
  • Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
  • Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
  • A deep-seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
  • Shallow Emotions
  • When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
  • Incapacity for Love
  • Need for Stimulation
  • Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
  • Callousness/Lack of Empathy
  • Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
  • Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
  • Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
  • Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
  • Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
  • Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
  • Tends to move around a lot or makes all-encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
  • Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
  • Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

Doesn’t that list perfectly describe a lot of your elected officials? As the saying goes, if the shoe fits…

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. I dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals (however loosely) and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The opinions expressed are my own. They are 100% correct – but not necessarily shared by anybody else here – including Peter Schiff. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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