These are just some recent examples of the executive branch using our tax dollars to shape our opinions. Unlike the National Security Agency’s personal data collection or the overuse of “secret” stamps to withhold information, this government-produced propaganda receives almost no attention. But that doesn’t mean this “third dimension” of government information is not a problem. America becomes less democratic when the $3 trillion executive branch uses its resources to tilt the debate in its favor.
Of course, a democratic government has an obligation to inform and be transparent. Citizens need to know the government’s policies and plans. We have a right to know which companies receive government contracts, how to collect insurance benefits and social security payments and what public school educational reform will look like. But too often, the government uses its information machinery to do more than simply inform us about a policy. Sometimes, it tries to