My younger brother and I don’t agree politically. I try not to get upset at him just because I see a smart man making poor decisions. It bothers me though because I believe he can do better. But that’s my admittedly subjective point of view. I have no problem with people holding different views than me. In fact, I’d be bored with a world where everyone thought as me. But if you hold a differing view than me, I expect you can defend it. My younger brother can’t. This is such an issue in my family that my older brother unfriended me on Facebook and we haven’t talked for eight months. I feel he’s made his feelings plain that he doesn’t want to accept his brother doesn’t agree with him. That makes me profoundly sad, but I can’t change his mind. He rejects me, and I’ll just have to live with it.
My younger brother is more willing to put up with my views, but he strongly disagrees with me. I keep asking him to defend his views as I do mine, but he doesn’t lift a mental finger. He just accepts what the right-leaning media tells him. But what he does actively do is post information he gets from somewhere in the InterWebs to his Facebook account. That’s his right, but my issue is he doesn’t verify any of the information. He just accepts it. That really bakes my beans! Here’s an example of what he posts. This chart below was up on his Facebook page when I sat down this evening. I knew at a glance it was wrong, so I did a little research. My findings – along with sources cited – are listed below.
The Actual Facts I found in less than 70 minutes of internet research. My apologies that the chart doesn’t fit my blog page right. I’ll try to correct it, but the data is still visible.
January 2009 Inauguration
Source of Data
|Unemployed Americans||9 million||11 million||As high as 15 million in 2010||Research and Analysis Unit, Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development|
|Unemployment Rate||7.8 %||7.5%||As high as 10% October 2009||US department of Labor and Statistics [data.bls.gov/timeseries/ LNS14000000]|
|Gas Prices||$1.86/ gal||$3.62/ gal||Was $4.10/ gal summer of 2008 and up to $3.90 May of 2011||GasBuddy.com [gasbuddy.com/gb_ retail_price_chart.aspx]|
|Federal Debt||11.9 trillion as of Sept 2009||16 trillion as of Sept 2012||TreasuryDirect [treasurydirect.gov/ govt/reports/pd/histdebt/ histdebt_histo5.htm]|
|Debt per Person||$35,153 Dec 2008||$52,152 Dec 2012||Presidential Debt.org [http://www.PresidentialDebt.org]|
|Misery Index||7.83||8.56||Has come down from a high of 12.87 in Aug and Sept 2011||MiseryIndex.com [http://www.miseryindex.us/ indexbymonth.aspx]|
|Food Stamp Recipients||32 million||47.5 million||US Dept of Agriculture via Matt Trivisono’s blog [http://www.trivisonno.com/ food-stamps-charts]|
|Health Insurance Premiums||Unable to find good data on this. Not sure where they got their numbers as they site no sources.|
|Home Values||$210,000||$180,000||Average price was as high as $300,000 in 2006 and fell steadily until stabilizing under Obama||JP’s [http://www.jparsons.net/ housingbubble/]|
|U.S. Global Competitiveness||1st (in 2008)||5th (2012)||http://neweconomist.blogs.com/ new_economist/growth_productivity _competitiveness/ and http://danieljmitchell.files.wordpress .com/2012/09/wef-ranking-2012.jpg|
|Americans in Poverty||Numbers listed in above chart are basically correct, but only through 2011. No more recent data was easily obtainable.|
[Disclaimer: I am not an economist, but I’d play one on TV if I had the chance]
The data I found is better in some cases, and worse in others. However, it’s obvious that the chart my brother found is trying to push an agenda. It minimizes subtlety in favor of bludgeoning you with numbers, hoping you’ll just agree and share it with your friends. Ugh! Really? Are Americans that stupid now that we can’t even think for a few minutes about what sounds right and what sounds like hogwash? Let’s talk about the economy for a minute, shall we?
Economists are well aware of something called economic lag. There is a period of up to four years in which changes made do not seem to have an impact, but up to four years later, changes can be seen. There are two types of lag; inside lag and outside lag. Inside lag occurs when a shock or boom occurs, until the governmental body actually takes action. Outside lag occurs once the policy changes have been made, until the changes actually affect the economy.
When President Obama was elected in November 2008, the US economy was already deep in the worst slump since the Great Depression. It wasn’t even known then just how bad it was. We were in the Inside Lag period as regulators and economists debated how to respond. Decisions were being made when he took office in January of 2009, and more were made in the first few months of his administration.
By late 2009 we were entering the Outside Lag phase, which lasted until well into 2012. The economy was a large part of the presidential election of 2012, and there were just enough positive indicators that Obama was re-elected. Since that time, despite some people crying that the sky is falling, the economy appears to be firmly in the midst of a recovery, although a very slow one. Most of the economic indicators above look worse than they actually are, as they were worse 1-2 years ago, and are now much better. They will likely continue to get better.
The chart at the top, the one that initially prompted me to write this post, is filled with errors and inaccuracies. Honestly, I don’t know who made it, but they were either incompetent or they were serving an agenda which caused them to fabricate answers that fit their motives. They were either idiots, or they were liars. There is no disputing that point.
If one wants to make a statement about the economy, the government, or frankly any other topic, please use actual facts. There is enough good data out there that we don’t need to lie. And if you feel the need to lie to serve your agenda, please consider the worthiness of that agenda. I don’t know if people are racist against Obama. I don’t know if Republicans are self-serving enough to do anything to reach their goals. I don’t pretend to understand the motives of either Republicans or Democrats or any other political creature out there. But I find it impossible to trust any political party that is so intimately tied to distortions of facts, and I don’t understand how others don’t see what I see.
However, I finally have some science to back up my admittedly subjective views. The Center For Media Affairs, a nonpartisan group, recently released a report analyzing truth-bending on both sides of the political landscape. Their findings were stark and unambiguous; Although both major parties were caught lying and telling the truth, Republicans in various platforms and situations have been more dishonest than Democrats, and by a great amount. Check it out yourself if you don’t believe me.
The good Lord gave us powerful minds with which to analyze and understand his creation. Let’s please use them. This is the solemn plea of the Technospiritualist!