Let’s be clear has become a popular phrase that usually portends a muddled message. Listen as hard as you might, clarity is not what you’ll be hearing most of the time. In fact the phrase is just what politicians use when they are at a loss for words or at least a loss for anything that makes sense. Euphemisms abound in discussions that run the gamut from tax policies to how our various armed conflicts are proceeding.

Everything is on the table we’re told when it comes to making a dent in our massive national debt, but of course nothing could be further from the truth. Depending on one’s perspective solutions are to be found in what are called “entitlements”, teachers’ salaries, union contracts and measures to protect the environment, the favorite whipping boys of the right wing while defense and tax cuts remain inviolate. Even when taxes are part of the discussion they are expressed in terms like “tax code expenditures” that soften the effect of procedures that in fact hide special-interest set-asides.