The theory goes that early man had only three numbers: “one”, “two” and “many”. When I was younger, that was difficult to believe. If a person could count to “two” then he could count to “three” and if he could count to “three” he could add another, couldn't he? Now, I think I understand. Just how many is 14.3 trillion anyway?
When I look at the number of dollars associated with our current federal debt . . . and our current budget . . . and even our annual deficit, quite frankly it’s overwhelming. When numbers get that large, I believe we have a tendency to think of those numbers as “many”, shake our heads and think about something comprehensible – like string theory. We can’t afford to do that anymore.
Numbers, when left alone are honest reflections of something and we are confident that we are on solid ground with them. It is when people re-define and re-interpret numbers that we begin to be on shaky ground and when people with an agenda begin to manipulate numbers, we leave unstable footing and dive into the quicksand head first.
Those who either deny reality or wish to influence the public often use numbers to obfuscate truth. The gullible and naive often see numbers as absolute truth and pay no attention to what is actually measured, they only listen to an interpretation. As famed 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” It’s still true today.
Recently President Obama used a 12-year – rather than a 10-year – budget projection and incredible (in the truest sense of the word) growth numbers to “prove” his budget proposal was as good as that of Wisconsin GOP Representative Paul Ryan. It actually proved nothing other than the President is not attempting to solve a problem so much as build a fiction that sounds feasible to the feeble-minded and, where they occasionally differ from the feeble-minded, the media. These ignoble creatures will, in turn, trumpet these false facts to the ignorant, the uncaring and the foolish.
President Obama and his team have already persuaded the public to accept phony statistics before and done so successfully. Do you remember the “jobs created or saved” statistic? A “statistic” which cannot be defined, measured or debated because it is made of fluffy clouds, tissue paper, lies and conjecture. He got away with it then and he will continue in the same vein until someone points out that this emperor has no clothes, no plan and no understanding of capitalism. “One, two, many,” indeed. In the case of this president’s budget, it has become “one too many” and I cannot wait until next November.