Presidential candidates this year are rewriting the record books for the most outlandish campaign promises.
This isn't simply a case of voters not knowing whom to believe. This year it seems there's no major candidate who hasn't overstated, fabricated or hallucinated about something wild that they will do if elected.Bernie Sanders is going to offer tuition-free college. He has yet to explain how the nation will cover the costs.Donald Trump promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico. He said Mexico would pay for it.Hillary Clinton told people in Michigan that she would remove lead pipes throughout the United States within five years.She told people in Ohio she would create a manufacturing Renaissance in the Rust Belt. No details were shared about how those things might be accomplished or how much it would all cost.Ted Cruz promised to pass a flat tax and abolish the IRS. He didn't say how he would accomplish that when Congress opposes those things.Voters may agree with or truly want some of the things they're being offered, but they shouldn't believe over-the-top promises.College is not free. A wall would be financially unfeasible. Politicians don't create private-sector jobs. Presidents can't just wish a new tax system into existence.Unfortunately, we're getting the government we deserve. National polls show what people want to hear and the candidates are doing their best to match their rhetoric to those deep-seated public desires.For years the top promise from politicians at nearly every level has been to "create jobs." Economists and business leaders almost unanimously proclaim that "government doesn't create private-sector jobs."In fairness, some candidates are careful to say they will create an environment that will encourage job growth.Some who have made that distinction still have made false promises by using flawed math to say those yet-to-be-created jobs would grow the economy or governmental budgets at some astronomical rate.Health care is another top concern. That's what Democrats in Congress counted on when they passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010.President Barack Obama said last week that six years after the ACA -- often called Obamacare -- became law, it has bent the cost curve downward. Yet the Congressional Budget Office reports that health care spending on Medicaid alone jumped 32 percent during the period from 2013 to 2015.The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that per capital health insurance spending will rise from $7,786 this year to $11,681 in 2024.Clinton found herself trying to defend Obamacare during a recent town hall where Teresa O'Donnell, an office coordinator from Powell, Ohio, told how her family's health insurance costs have skyrocketed from $490 a month to $1,081 a month.Clinton responded by saying there are "exceptions" where insurance costs are rising. She also pointed to her health care policy paper that promises to lower drug costs if elected president.The math and a GOP-led Congress make Clinton's plans seem very unlikely to succeed.Whatever else Americans expect of their political candidates, they should demand honesty and details on how big proposals will be possible.If we just pick which lies we want to believe, we'll keep getting the government we deserve.