Bait and switch
Bait and switch is a technique most often associated with the retail industry but is also a favorite of manipulative politicians. In advertising this involves using a lure, such as a low-priced item, as bait to get a person into the store, then trying to sell the person a higher priced item because the other item is either "out-of-stock" or "of inferior quality." The key is that there was never any intention to sell the lower-priced item; it was only used as bait to sell more expensive items. While the technique is illegal in retail in the U.S, it still occurs fairly frequently.
In politics there are no laws specifically forbidding the use of bait and switch techniques and they are used often in a variety of ways. This includes selling bills at much lower costs than realistically possible and falsely positioning candidates so that they appear to be acceptable to groups that would not otherwise endorse them.
Bait and switch is one of the many propaganda tactics used very effectively by the G.W Bush administration. The examples seem to be endless but here are a few of the more notable: the "No Child Left Behind" Act, touted as a means of improving schools and education was then given insufficient funds to carry out its mandate; Alan Greenspan initially claimed that the tax cuts that most benefited the wealthiest Americans would not affect Social Security, yet now that the bill has been has been passed, the economist who clearly knew better is saying that Social Security benefits will have to be cut; and the Medicare Prescription Drug Program was passed by Congress at an estimated cost of $400 billion, when it was already known by the Bush administration that the cost would more likely be around $550 billion - a sum much less likely to be acceptable to Congress.
Bait and switch is a type of fraud or deception.
- Wikipedia entry on bait and switch
- Molly Ivins, "Bait-switch tactics seem to work for Bush, " Arizona Daily Star, February 26, 2004.
- Paul Krugman, "Greenspan dabbles in bait-switch," Arizona Daily Star OpEd, March 3, 2004.
- Bob Herbert, "Bait and Switch," CommonDreams.org, January 30, 2003. (Reprinted from a New York Times OpEd on G. W.Bush's 2004 State of the Union address).
- Tony Pugh, "Medicare Analyst Confirms Muzzling," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 2004.