Quote: “The Senate advice provision does little more than restate current law, which has left workers to fend for themselves without the type of quality advice they so desperately need.” Kevin Smith, spokesman for House Majority Leader (and boner maker) John Boehner, in the New York Times.
Figure of Speech: red herring, the fallacy of distraction.
The House and Senate passed different versions of a pension “reform” bill that was supposed to stop corporations from robbing workers of their own pensions. Instead, both houses weakened the law by allowing companies to contribute less.
John Boehner comes to the rescue by meeting your need for … advice. Investment firms are forbidden from advising 401(k) customers on their own products, for obvious reasons. Boehner wants to lift that restriction to help his fellow Americans and the securities industry, which happens to be his biggest donor.
What does this have to do with employers squandering their workers’ retirement? Extremely little. It’s a red herring. The fallacy—named for an aromatic bait that apparently threw bloodhounds off the scent—brings up an irrelevant topic to distract you. Mr. Smith’s herring replaces a major national scandal with a minor scandal, in an attractive rhetorical wrapping.
Snappy Answer: “You’ve reformed the EPA, the Clean Air Act, Congressional ethics, Medicaid, and now pensions. Can we reform you?”