‘There are lies, damn lies – and statistics.’

‘There are lies, damn lies – and statistics.’

The difference between lies, damn lies, and statistics, is that the first two are attempts to convince, while the last is an attempt to deceive.  You got a great example of this in today’s paper.

Saturday’s OpEd, Taxophobic’ dubious claim about R.I., psychologist and “liberal” activist with the George Wiley Center, John J. Colby, defended the status quo, and indeed proposed more taxes for those creating jobs, by claiming that Rhode Island is NOT losing people and businesses because of our onerous tax structure.  He writes:

Data from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service show that over the last decade more taxpayers living in Massachusetts moved to Rhode Island than Rhode Islanders moved to Massachusetts.

The population of MA is 6.5 million.

The population of Rhode Island is 1 million (and has the second lowest growth rate in the nation – on this link you will also find rebuttal to other points Colby made in the article).

Doesn’t it make sense that “more taxpayers” would be moving from MA than from RI simply because they have 6.5 times more people than we do?

I’m not sure if Mr. Colby doesn’t understand how statistics should be viewed, or if the thinks the rest of us won’t get the slight of hand he is attempting, but it certainly shows the mentality of advocacy on the left.


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