My representative in Congress sent me a constituent survey (printed and mailed at taxpayer expense) and it’s a joke.
His positions are “conveniently” worded, to say the least. On health care, he states that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that the new health care bill will increase costs 6.3% annually over current spending. (What the Congressman doesn’t say is that the increase is during the expansion years to 2016, and the same report shows costs will be LOWER than current spending beginning in 2017.)
He also states that the Congressional Budget Office reports that by 2016, this legislation will increase the average premium by $2,100 for millions of families. (What the Congressman doesn’t say is that this will not affect the large majority of the population, which will see a decrease in premiums, and those who are affected can get government subsidy—resulting in lower cost for this minority as well.)
His survey questions are equally convenient. He asks: what steps should the next Congress take to improve and reduce unemployment? The choices are: spend more taxpayer money on another stimulus bill and cut taxes and reduce government spending. If those are the only two steps that Congress is considering, we are in for a looooooong recession.
I can hear him now on the House floor: “I surveyed my constituents and they overwhelmingly responded that this action should be taken.” This makes him sound like he’s in touch with his constituents and on top of the issues. When people think “survey,” they’re probably thinking about a reliable objective scientific survey.
There’s no depth to these types of surveys or the decision-makers who use them. They’re bright and fancy, and sound really smart—but it’s all just surface manipulation. It’s like a hologram. It looks deep and complex, but it’s just an illusion. Far too many people (leaders and followers alike) are basing decisions on selective information. How sad that Members of Congress are basing our future on such illusions.