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5 Seemingly Innocent Phrases That Start Instant Flame Wars

#2. Government Spending

Reasonable people can have serious and legitimate differences of opinion about what, exactly, their government should and should not be responsible for. I've got a pretty firm opinion of how large governments should be myself (massive, like planet-crushingly massive), but I acknowledge that intelligent people may feel otherwise. And that's fine and that's fair and if it wasn't for the fact that we all use the most twisted language possible to describe this issue, we'd almost certainly get along and not want to kill each other.

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"STOP WORDING DIFFERENTLY THAN ME."

For example, if you don't have a problem with government spending, you'd be more likely to use terms like "investment" or "public services" to describe it. But if you wish governments were smaller, you'd use terms like "spending" or "huge fucking boondoggle, I mean, can you even believe?" The same thing occurs in a variety of other places. "Revenue" vs "tax dollars." "Public servants" vs "bureaucrats." There essentially aren't any neutral words left to describe these issues anymore; regardless of what word you use, you'll be coloring the argument in one direction or the other and angering or turning off anyone who disagrees with you.

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"How dare this child imply that the notion of spending money on roads has merit? Lazy, entitled millennials."

#1. Job Creator

When discussing tax breaks or other policies that benefit business owners (or the wealthy), it doesn't take long for someone to call this group of people "job creators." The reasoning is straightforward and not completely illogical. If business owners have more money, they'll be able to invest more in their businesses. Growing businesses need more workers, and that need means more jobs. If that sounds simple, it is. If that sounds childishly simple, it's that too. If it sounds too childishly simple of an argument to prop up billions of dollars of tax breaks, well that's just one of those things about this age that we're going to have to live with.

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"Oh selfie. What have the elderly done to us this time?"

What's wrong with that reasoning? Well, let's start with the motivation. Business owners don't invest money in their businesses for fun. They're doing it to make more money. If a business can make more money by making more jobs, it will definitely do that. Hooray! The system works! But if it can make more money by firing a bunch of people it will do that too. Boooooooo system. And if it can make more money by sending jobs to Asia to be done by low-paid workers toiling in inhumane environments, it will do that most of all.

Cancan Chu/Getty Images News
"Hooray system."

To be fair, there are plenty of examples of loaded language on the flipside of this equation. "Greedy owners," or "obscene profits," or "exploited workers," are all phrases that make pretty harsh judgment calls about something which may or may not be true. And there are circumstances when public policy that supports businesses (or even the wealthy) is justifiable. But let's just can it on the "job creators" thing. The wealthy were only doing that accidentally.




Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and your best eco-friend. Join him on Facebook or Twitter or don't, depending on how you feel about that.

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