It All Depends On How You Look At It,
But The Truth Is Still The Truth

by James Glaser
Ju.y 29, 2009

We all know that Washington plays games with the numbers they use to calculate the number of unemployed, inflation, the amount we spend on defense, and anything else they can get away with. That "playing" with numbers is what the media calls "spin." That is lying for you and me, and it is being used in almost every segment of our society.

How about the store that says 75% OFF!, but when you get there it doesn't seem like that much of a deal. "LOWEST PRICE IN TOWN" "NEW and Improved" Business will say what ever it takes to get your money.

We have a whole segments of our economy willing to say anything it can to try and convince the public that things are turning around, and it is alright to start spending again.

The New York Times had a piece yesterday by David Streitfeld with the head line, "Slide in Home Prices Is Slowing Down Index Shows." Well, if you didn't read the story and just went with the head line you might think things are looking better in the real estate sector.

If you read the article, you find that the "Slowing Down" they are talking about is a one month, one percent change in the value of home prices over the same month in 2008. Instead of a home being worth 18.1 % less in April of this year over the same month last year, in May a home was only 17.1 % less than it was in May of 2008.

We are talking about a one month change of one percent, and who really knows if those numbers are any good. Have you ever noticed that every month's unemployment number gets readjusted a month or two after first being reported?

Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street are all grasping at straws, but the truth is still the truth. By their numbers over 6 million Americans are out of work, but in real life the number is more than double that. Quit looking for work for six weeks, and your number no longer counts according to the bean counters in Washington.

If you are on Social Security or some other fixed income that gets a pay raise ever year because of inflation, don't count on a raise this year. Right now Washington is saying that our buying power is up 2% over last year. If they think that holds true in September when they set the new Social Security rate, you won't get any raise in your retirement check because Washington is claiming prices are coming down. Is that the way you see it?

So, numbers are numbers, and you can play with them all day long trying to get them to add up to what you want, but even after you are all done, you still have to face the truth. You can change the numbers, but you can't change the truth.

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