WASHINGTON, D.C. – Who doesn’t know the story of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who wants to be a real boy, but who has a hard time telling the truth?
The people who work in the White House and Congress are good examples of twenty-first century Pinocchios, and some of the things we’re hearing about the mandatory budget cuts known as ‘sequestration’ are enough to make any nose grow, whether on a puppet or politician.
At least that’s what the Washington Post’s fact-checker determined.
Let’s start with President Obama’s statement that the sequester means a cut in pay for janitors working on Capitol Hill.
‘The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.’
That’s real, all right. Real wrong.
When the Superintendent of the Capital heard it, he sent out an email saying in big red letters ‘this is not true.’
And that’s why the president got four Pinocchios, the most allowed under the law.
If you believed the nation’s top teacher, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the halls of public schools are littered today with the pink slips handed out to 40,000 teachers.
But the Washington Post fact-checker gave that statement four Pinocchios.
“I said they’re getting slips now, they’re getting notices now,’ Duncan later lamely explained. ‘So that’s, I think, where some of the misunderstanding was.”
An aide to Duncan said they came up with the 40,000 number by doing a rough calculation on the back of an envelope.
Pinocchio’s story is so simple that even a child can figure it out. Maybe a child should explain it to our leaders in Washington.