Two recent letters parrot the same deceptive tea party statistics and talking points that are being spread around Facebook. But just because you read it on the Internet doesn’t make it so. Darrell Huff wrote “How to Lie with Statistics” in 1954, and things are much worse today.
One letter writer cites 100 million Americans on public assistance programs – one in three! Absurd nonsense. The number was reached by adding the total recipients of every separate program, without remarking that many individuals are on the rolls of several of them. Remove the duplicates, and the result will make sense.
And 47 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income tax? Take out all the seniors on Social Security and the children under 18, and this imposing and specious number shrinks rapidly.
Persistent high unemployment? The housing crash and crisis started under you know who. An article on the business page (TNT, 8-16) presents an analysis of how strongly the housing situation has hindered the recovery.
Combine that with loss of tax revenue and the attendant layoffs of public sector employees and unemployment soars. And still the tea party wants to cut more – then moan about job losses.
If you listen to these letter writers, brainwashed by their own propaganda, the United States was the Garden of Eden until the devil came to the White House in January 2009.