Short one for today… on a personal pet peeve, which is apparently not only my pet peeve. Perhaps more than anything else, I hate it when pundits – who often have little clue what they are talking about to begin with, toss around big numbers with lots of zeros… or “illions” attached in order to make their ideological point. Case and point this morning on Twitter:
US spent ~$1 trillion on transfer programs in ’13, but 40 million people remain below the poverty line. http://t.co/Ul08F5T3fH
— Andy Smarick (@smarick) January 10, 2014
Bear in mind, this is nothing new for this particular individual.
Thankfully, I don’t even have to write the critique of this utter foolishness, since the Center for Economic and Policy Research preemptively wrote it the other day! Here’s a portion of their explanation:
As we mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, it would be appropriate to note one of the main causes of its limited success, using big numbers without context. The issue here is a simple one; most people think that we have committed vastly more resources than is in fact the case to fighting this war. As a result, they are reasonably (based on their understanding) reluctant to contribute more resources. (emphasis added)
Please read the rest. It’s only a few paragraphs. Of course, if the intent is to deceive and warp public opinion, then Smarick and others are right on target.