I am looking for the word that describes this situation -

In the US, there are people looking to eliminate the estate tax. Their argument is "This will save families that are leaving farms to the next generation." In my opinion, the truth is that there are multiple billionaires who would simply like to preserve their wealth.

The argument that the tax proposal helps farmers is just a _________ to obfuscate the true beneficiaries of the proposal."

We are on english.se, please do not reply with a political response. The same word would suffice for the contrived -

"The town's mayor is lobbying heavily to have land parcel 234 made into a public park. His proposal is a __________ to divert attention from the fact that the owner wants to put a building that would block his lake view."

Edit - In my exhaustive research, the simple word that comes close is just "diversion", the stated motive is a diversion from the real motive. The more eloquent phrase was "Red Herring" -

A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue.[1] It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences towards a false conclusion. A red herring might be intentionally used, such as in mystery fiction or as part of rhetorical strategies (e.g. in politics), or it could be inadvertently used during argumentation.

which may very well be correct, but of course, I am here asking the question, hoping for a more appropriate word for this type of scenario.

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    Since you (understandably) don't want a political discussion, I would strongly urge you to remove your own statement of political opinion from the question. Just leave the second, innocuous example about the mayor. The urge to comment on the other statement is very hard to resist. – terdon Aug 3 '17 at 14:15
  • Tag definition - "This tag is for questions seeking a single word that fits a meaning. To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. YOU MUST INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE demonstrating how the word would be used. Please use the "phrase-requests" tag instead ..." - I went through painstaking detail on the exact use, per the tag instructions. If "research done" is a requirement, you should consider updating tag definition. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 3 '17 at 14:39
  • @JoeTaxpayer Hey Joe. if you look at the whole information page for the tag, not just the pop-up box, you will see that there is a section on ' How to do research for a single word request' and a 'Question Checklist' including the Q 'Does the question show that you searched for a suitable word before asking the question?'. The info on SE/ELU isn't always the easiest to find, but it is there. – Spagirl Aug 3 '17 at 15:03
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    @Spagirl - thanks. I stopped at that pop-up, as you noted. I see the suggestion to 'research' now. – I have updated the question. I hope that's adequate. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 3 '17 at 15:13
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    @MetaEd - understood. At my home, Money.SE, where I mod, we've pretty much failed to enforce that. Focusing instead on clear questions that represent problems members face in personal finance. (I need to remind myself that for other stacks, there may be more enforcement of this. No issue there.) – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 3 '17 at 15:16

"Straw man argument" could possibly work, depending on the context of the discourse; however, "red herring" seems to be right on point as it would cover any scenario


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