Figures Don't Lie

Many years ago, my Uncle Wes was listening to a political commentary on the evening news. About halfway through the piece he got up, turned the TV off and told me: "Figures don't lie but liars sure can figure" This Blog is dedicated to setting things right about a few of the numbers tossed around in today's political discussions.

My Photo
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota, United States

How old am I? Well, for much of my career, I had a secretary. And, my best secretary could take shorthand.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Spending Other Than That for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Net Interest, 1962 to 2080 (Percentage of GDP)

Oh, my. I don't know whether to post this here on my "numbers blog" or put it into "Tom's Rants!"

I was just looking at the Congressional Budget Office Director's Blog. He has a wonderful post on the unsustainability of current government spending trends. Unfortunately, he blathers on about the results of continuing present trends through the year 2080. Here's his big picture graph:

Let's be serious. The best way to lie with numbers is to project something seventy years into the future. Think about it. Picture a presentation made to congress in 1940 about what would be happening in 2010. Let's project General Motor's market share. Better yet, project the Japanese share of the U.S. auto market. Shall we revise that in 1942?

Of course government "experts" really did project trends like that back around 1940. The most famous one being when Social Security was shifted into a "pay as you go" mode. But not to worry - the taxes were low and people didn't live much past retirement age anyway! Now we are starting to live with the reality of that projection.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home