Tax your brain with chartjunk

In addition to lies, damn lies and statistics, there’s also charts and graphs that are so bad you can’t understand the data they’re trying to convey.

I got this image from a post about Tax Plans of McCain & Obama (click through to see it bigger) from a cool blog called chartjunk. The author writes:

There’s a graph (visible at the link above) that Obama supporters are sending around, showing the differences between the Republican and Democrat tax cut proposals. It shows that Obama is not in fact planning to raise taxes – he’s planning to cut them for all but the very, very rich. I couldn’t help but notice though – the graph is still massively weighted towards the interests of the super-rich. For example, the bottom two-thirds of the population are given only a third of the space on the graph, while the top 0.1% of the population – one in a thousand people – gets almost 10%. What’s more, an “average tax cut” is then given, which seems to have been derived from taking a total of the nine income brackets shown and dividing it by nine. Journalists should really volunteer to take remedial arithmetic, you know. Once again, this ignores that one of the brackets represents one thousandth of the population.

In the very informed comments, it’s noted that folks making less than $66,354 make up nearly 2/3 of the population (63.4%). Those folks will be getting a less than 1% cut from the McCain plan. I suppose that they can just hope for a little trickle-down…

I think the thing that’s most interesting to me about the graph is that the McCain plan proposes to continue the cut, cut, cut mantra of recent years while simultaneously committing to ongoing (and expensive) military operations.

Where will the money come from, Mr. Wizard?

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