White Lies, Budget Style

One of my pet peeves is that people use bogus numbers to support policy proposals. By bogus numbers, I don’t mean that the math is wrong (although sometimes it is). Instead, people often use numbers which, while mathematically correct, are extremely misleading. This seems to be a bi-partisan sport. Barry Ritholtz has done a great job of explaining one great stinking example of this: federal budgets as they relate to Presidents. Today, President Obama is the victim of this, but every president in recent history has also been the victim. Like I say, it’s a bi-partisan sport. I don’t know if such perversions of truth actually sway many voters, but it’s easy to do and the partisans are unlikely to get caught in the act. As we all know, voters aren’t very good with numbers.

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present (not usua...

Image via Wikipedia

UPDATE: It looks like I’m not the only one annoyed by bad numbers!


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