• Never Trust Government Numbers

      This week, Obama released his new budget. He talked about the "tough choices" he was making to reduce the deficit. In his State of Union speech, he claimed that he had already agreed to "$2 trillion in cuts and savings."

      But Obama misleads. From my syndicated column this week:

      What the president was talking about is not even a cut. The politicians just agreed that over the next 10 years, instead of increasing spending by $9.48 trillion, they'd increase it by "just" $7.3 trillion. Calling that a "cut" is nonsense.

      Cato Institute economist Dan Mitchell gave an analogy: "What if I came to you and said, ‘I've been on a diet for the last month, and I've gained 10 pounds. Isn't that great?' You would say: ‘Wait, what are you talking about? That's insane.' And I said: ‘I was going to gain 15 pounds. I've only gained 10 pounds, therefore my diet is successful.'"

      It's not just Obama. Misleading numbers are the norm in politics. For more examples, see the rest of the column here.

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      Budget