Adult conversation. Usage: "It is past time for an adult conversation about investments and revenues." B.S. This is one of those terms that in practice means exactly the opposite of its plain-English meaning. "Adult conversation" actually says, "Warning: I'm about to condescend to you, demean your perspective as childish and immature, and suggest that my perspective is the only reasonable, intelligent, considered position that can possibly be taken by any thinking adult on the subject under discussion.
As much as _____ / As many as ______. Usage: "Experts predict that this legislation could generate as much as $100 billion in savings over ten years." Or: "Supporters claim that these investments will generate as many as 10,000 permanent jobs." B.S. "As much/many as ____" means: "I'm about to make up a big number in the hope and expectation that someone will hear and repeat it, it will become conventional wisdom attached forevermore to the initiative I'm pushing, regardless of eventual reality." Most of the time this ploy works exactly as planned.
|Doing it for our children|
Spending cuts. Usage: "During this difficult budget cycle, we've made the tough choices and enacted deep spending cuts across government." Okay, sometimes a program is actually cut. But usually? B.S. The vast majority of the time, when pols talk about "spending cuts" what they really mean is a reduction in the anticipated rate of spending increase. Government grows - just not at quite the rate it wishes it could grow. Whoopee. Better than nothing, but not a "cut."
Fair share. Usage: "The wealthy need to pay their fair share of taxes." (This, by the way, is one of the few contexts in which you'll see the word "taxes" in place of the B.S. "revenues.") B.S. This means "more." Doubt it? Then find me one instance in which a pol or a pundit has demanded that someone or some group pay a "fair share" of taxes and meant "less," or even, "exactly their current rate." Doesn't happen.
On the table. Usage: "A gas tax hike is just one idea on the table." B.S. "On the table" means: "this is what I want to do, but I'm not quite ready yet to admit it explicitly." Think of it this way. You walk into a room and see a pol with a big glass of cold, frosty beer in front of him. You ask if he's going to drink it, and he replies, "that's on the table." Same thing.
|Maybe the last /only plausible invocation of|
"The American People"
To spend more time with my family. Usage: "I'm resigning from the Administration to spend more time with my family." This one isn't so much a B.S. flag as B.S. in and of itself (almost always). For reasons that nobody has ever explained to me, invocation of "more time with my family" is almost a reflex for politicians, even in situations where there is no doubt about other, more compelling motivations for a sudden career change. I understand that no pol can ever stand up at a podium and say, "I'm resigning to cash in," or "I'm resigning because I'm about to be indicted." But why so many pols feel the need to slap a big "I'm Full Of It!" sticker on their chests as a final public act is just beyond me.
With all due respect. Usage: "With all due respect to my opponent..." B.S. This is another that means precisely the opposite. When a pol or a pundit says "with all due respect," he's really saying "@*$# you."
I'm glad you asked that question. Usage: "I'm glad you asked that question, Joe. This is a topic I'd hoped to discuss..." B.S. Another opposite. Also used as a frequent substitute for "@*$# you."
I want to talk about the issues. Usage: "The American people are tired of these distractions. I want to talk about the issues." B.S. This translation it easy. "I want to talk about the issues" means "I don't want to talk about what we're talking about." Yet another occasional stand-in for "@*$# you." (There may be only one real way to say "I love you," but there are a thousand ways to say the opposite.)
|Just wants to talk about the issues.|
Mandate. Usage: "The mandate is not a tax. Alternate: The mandate is a tax." This is a newly-minted bit of B.S., but it is moving up the charts. The usage is very context-specific. In court, a mandate is a tax (otherwise, hey, it might just be unconstitutional). In the wider world, pols and pundits will twist themselves into rhetorical knots insisting that a mandate absolutely is not a tax, bears no resemblance to a tax, and is in fact something more akin to fresh-baked Christmas cookies by a crackling fire. Anyhow, B.S. A mandate is a tax. Just ask SCOTUS.
There are more. Many more. I'll think of one the second I hit "publish." Drop a comment and tell me some that I'm missing.