Friday, September 20, 2013
Surveys and Other Lies
The economy is improving, except it's getting worse, depending on who you talk to. Statistics lie as do many government reports and surveys. As an example, I was just contacted by phone by some organization doing a survey. "Just four questions," they said, and then proceeded to ask four heavily slanted questions about mandatory ratings for childrens games designed to elicit the answer they really wanted from me. Being a lawyer, I am a professional pain in the butt, so I didn't give them the answers they wanted. They stated that kids spend 10 hours a day on TV and video games, so would I support a rating system like in the movies. Of course, I said no. I added that if a child spends 10 hours a day on these things, the parents were at fault. They didn't like that answer, so at the end, they said, "Well, since you don't have children or grandchildren under 15 we won't be using you in the survey." The problem is - they never asked if I had kids or grandkids that age. I said wait, I never said I didn't..." The phone hung up. So if they simply eliminate any calls that don't match what their pitch is, they can claim that their survey showed a large margin in favor of their proposals. Many surveys and polls do the same thing. The result is that they are all unreliable. If I pitch it right, I can probably prove in a survey that Adolf Hitler would be a better president than Barack Obama. "I'm not saying he was a good guy, but just judging on leadership skills, who would you say would make a better President?" "Ignoring for a second all the Jews he killed, who would you say was a bigger patriot to his country?" If you avoid calling Democrats and northern states, and throw out the answers you don't like, you can probably claim a majority in favor of Hitler over Obama. Except it's all a lie. It is difficult to say exactly where our economy is going, but I suggest ignoring the "experts." The one figure I look at is not unemployment (which everyone knows is skewed) but rather I look at exchange rates. If Europe and the Euro are in such trouble compared to us, why is it $1.33 American to buy one Euro? If the cost of living is stable, why does everything cost more? My advice is "Don't trust the surveys, trust your wallet." Besides, according to my own personal survey, 10 out of 9 bankruptcy lawyers agree with me. Who can argue with those numbers?