Politicians know all about lying with statistics. But it’s more effective to lie with anecdotes — using stories to ignore the biggest Statistic in the Room.
President Barack Obama delivered his constitutionally obligatory State of the Union address to Congress last night. He told a lot of stories, and most of them may have been mostly true, for all I know. But what we do know for sure is that these stories distracted us from the one statistic that matters.
You know, to the actual state of the union.
Which is not sound.
The rising level of debt is putting the finances of the union in grave jeopardy. Politicians have promised too much — delivered too much — courtesy of borrowing from future tax revenues. The current debt is larger than the nation’s annual GDP. (That’s the stat that matters.) The federal government owes more than all of us, together, earn in a year.
This, of course, is unsustainable.
And yet the president is doing precious little to curb this unhappy meeting with destiny. Deficits are down a tad. He took credit for that. He didn’t credit the Republicans, his recalcitrant enemies.
But, in a State of the Union address filled with programs to expand and goals to “guarantee,” he didn’t offer to cut anything, did he? (Other than promise, yet again, to close Guantanamo.)
Indeed, in Obama’s most recent bickering “negotiation” with the House had his bid for extending unemployment benefits met with an ask price of an offsetting cut elsewhere in the budget. The prez balked.
Our “state”? In a deep debt hole, oblivious, and still digging.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.