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Don’t you just love bar charts?

OK, students. Study the chart above for five minutes, and then submit a brief essay on how it relates to the rhetoric we hear these days from conservatives who don’t know what they’re talking about.

And no copying your neighbor’s work, please.

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4 Comments

  1. Care to give us those numbers in actual dollars? Rounded to the billions would be fine. Or maybe you’d rather give them to us as percentage of GDP?

  2. Hey Pat, how about instead we talk about liberals who don’t know what they’re talking about? This post once again shows an amazing lack of research, even for you. Politifact already rated this chart “Pants on Fire” four months ago.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/may/19/nancy-pelosi/nancy-pelosi-posts-questionable-chart-debt-accumul/

    And please don’t tell me to not trust Politifact, because you cited their “Pants on Fire” rating just 4 days ago:

    http://blogs.e-rockford.com/applesauce/2011/09/23/romney-peddles-persistent-right-wing-myth-that-obama-went-on-a-global-apology-tour-for-america/

  3. Jaybo: Go to the head of the class. You’re absolutely right about the errors represented in the chart.

    I should have checked it out instead of just grabbing it from another Web site yesterday afternoon and quickly posting it for the sake of snarkiness.

    That’s not the first such mistake I’ve made here, nor will it likely be the last.

    Perhaps I should just stick with my more reliable refutations of the popular right-wing myths about Ronald Reagan’s record.

  4. Just because I know you care about truth, here is the segment from Jaybo’s politifact link that answers my question in comment 1

    ” Debt vs. debt as a percentage of GDP: Some economists will tell you that it’s not the size of the debt per se, but rather the size of the debt relative to the nation’s gross domestic product. This helps minimize the complicating effect of economic cycles and inflation. So how do those numbers stack up? Using OMB statistics, here’s what we came up with, using public debt figures not adjusted for the president’s time in office:

    Reagan: Up 14.9 percentage points
    George H.W. Bush: Up 7.1 percentage points
    Clinton: Down 13.4 percentage points
    George W. Bush: Up 5.6 percentage points
    Obama: Up 21.9 percentage points (through December 2010 only)

    So by this measurement — potentially a more important one — Obama is the undisputed debt king of the last five presidents, rather than the guy who added a piddling amount to the debt, as Pelosi’s chart suggested. Of course, all this goes to show that statistics can be used — and misused — to bolster almost any argument.”

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