Letter: Spinning statistics doesn’t change facts

Mark Twain said that there are “... lies, damned lies and statistics.” The opinion column of Robert Samuelson’s pseudo-academic, pro-fat-cat propaganda is a perfect example of why Twain’s opinion is widely held; if Samuelson’s points are examined carefully, and full account is taken of his use of words like “almost,” “slightly more than” and his lumping together of unrelated categories, we see that he is really saying almost nothing.

He seems unhappy that the richest fifth of households paid around half the taxes, but since they have around half the wealth, where is his problem? He conveniently ignores the fact that many vastly profitable corporations pay little or no taxes, some receiving government hand-outs. He is outraged that 80 percent of nonelderly benefit spending goes to the poorest three-fifths of households (veterans, schoolchildren, the disabled,) but the real outrage is that 20 percent goes to the richest two quintals. This is another in a seemingly endless campaign of mendacity to convince the American public that the national debt is a terrible crisis; it is not. The terrible crisis is the lingering Great Recession, and we will recover from it only by following the way President Franklin D. Roosevelt got us out of the Great Depression. If you like statistics, look those up.

Ned Heller

retired teacher

New Orleans