Little White Lies
The truth is everybody shades the truth. My mother used to call them "Little White Lies". She said it was a normal thing to shade the truth because it protects people's feelings. When she asked my dad "How do I look?" he always had the same answer no matter what she was wearing.
Shading the truth is one thing, but saying things you know are inaccurate is lying. It is like murder. Murder is when you plan to take another persons life. That is different from killing someone in a hunting accident or punching someone in a fit of rage, and they die. That is not intentional so it is considered manslaughter. It is still a major crime but it is a different crime than lying in wait and purposely murdering someone.
The same is true with fibbing, shading the truth, and outright lying. When you tell someone something that is inaccurate, but you didn't know it was inaccurate at the time you shared the information, that is not lying. That is spreading misinformation. Also a bad thing, but less malevolent than telling someone that you didn't run over their dog when you know you did.
In California, Governor Newsom constantly says the state has a surplus. That we have a Rainy Day Fund because his administration has done such a wonderful job of managing the state's finances. But that is a whopper. The state actually has a massive unfunded debt.
If proper accounting procedures are used, the numbers are terrifying. California collectively owes $500 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. None of which is considered in the budget process. Because new pension liabilities accrue faster than we can pay off the old ones, the state can never collect enough taxes to pay it all back.
California politicians are operating a massive Ponzi Scheme, telling citizens that our finances are in order, failing to mention that future generations are actually going to have to pay for our current excess spending. During any given year, the state floats a bond, or increases fees on some benign service like telephone calls. It is a relatively painless way to confiscate money, and it makes sense in the short term, but it never really retires the debt. It just kicks the can down the road.
To call it Good Government is a lie. It might be good 'public relations', or even good political propaganda, but it is not good government. It is true that our Governor and our State are not alone, that this form of creative bookkeeping is Standard Operating Procedure for most large government operations. It is how the United States Post Office manages to continue operating while losing billions every year. Massive government departmental cash registers never really close the drawer after each spending spree, so the transaction paper trail is inaccurate. They are cooking the books.
No one ever gets held accountable. It is like counterfeit money: Most people pass the "little white lies" along without ever knowing they are participating in a criminal enterprise. After it has circulated for a period of time, and has drawn millions of people into the crime, it becomes normalized. Each new generation of elected officials passes along the illusion of financial stability just like passing around counterfeit bills.
Unfunded liabilities are simply unpaid bills. Unfortunately for younger Californians, the state's Rainy Day Fund is just another little white lie.