Monday, November 3, 2008

"Hey, get your hand out of my pocket!"

After seeing someone post on FaceBook this obviously misleading graph ...
[edit: link removed, picture inserted, incomplete sentence left as-is]
...presenting a comparison of McCain and Obama tax plans. I didn't think too much of it at the time. I did, however, post this note on my wall in response to an anti-Obama sermon someone else had posted (No kidding, the present "The Parable of the Talents" as an argument that Obama's tax plan is not biblical!):

Dan Eastwood is fairly certain the world will not come to an end when Obama gets elected, but snickers a bit at the people who whine about it so.

To which a good friend of mine replied:

"I, too, am pretty sure the world won't end... Of course there's a bit of distance between "world ending" and "hey, get your hand out of my pocket!"

I was about to write back something about "hands in pockets" and that hands of taxation are already in everyone's pockets, so I searched "tax plans" for ammunition, and how this article from Freakonomics: Competing Tax Plans: Two Perspectives.

Voila! The same misleading graph appears again, along with two other ways of presenting the same data that look very different, and a nice discusion. A little real information is better than a pointless argument any day. Rather than repost all that here, I urge you to go read the the Freakonimics article, it's short and well worth the effort. Or, if you are ambitious, go read this newly released report by the Tax Policy Center.

And who IS John Galt, anyway? (Thanks Matt!)