Anorak | Yes, of course the Government lies to us but…..

Yes, of course the Government lies to us but…..

by | 17th, January 2012

YOU can usually find the truth if you go looking hard enough. You know, the real numbers about what is happening, not what the politicians’ spinmeisters have cooked up for that day’s newspaper stories.

That, at least in the US, is about to get a lot more difficult.

“The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Use the Abstract as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information both in print and on the Web.”

It also says that the U.S. Census Bureau has decided to save $3 million per year by eliminating the Stat Abstract.

Now, OK, this is Johnny Foreigner and it’s only something of interest to the wonkiest of policy wonks. But it is actually an important point. We know, absolutely, that the politicians lie to us. They do it all the time, we can see their lips moving. And the only way for any of us to actually prove that they are is to go digging through these books and books of numbers and show where they are making their mistakes….sorry, what they’re lying about.

You don’t have to do that, I don’t (although I do occasionally I will admit) but we all rely on those few wonks and nerds who do go through these numbers. That’s where that little bit of good economic and political reporting comes from: comparing what the spivs in office are saying is happening with what is actually happening.

And now they’re not going to be publishing the numbers which lets us see how well they’re spending 50% of everything we produce.

As I say, this is Johnny Foreigner we’re talking about but here in the UK something similar is done even if a different manner. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) does the same job and their website is appalling. It’s near impossible to navigate: my nephew* could produce a better design. And I’m certain that that terrible design and usability is on purpose, to stop anyone finding out what they’re actually doing.

* Well, he does work for Google, yes. But even so an entire government should be able to do better than they are.


Posted: 17th, January 2012 | In: Politicians Comment | TrackBack | Permalink