Benjamin Disraeli: There are three kinds of lie; lies, damned lies and statistics
% of all Statistics that are fabricated in support of an argument 94.20%
I'm as guilty as anyone, when debating an economic issue it's easy to quote a statistic to justify any particular viewpoint not perhaps understanding its veracity or source. We quote inflation, average salaries, unemployment rates, average house prices etc without understanding the methodology behind their preparation.
So, if you've got a spare half-hour you could visit the Office of National Statistics Website.
I would particularly suggest looking at the detail behind the CPI.
Whilst the site explains the methodology behind the preparation of statistics many of the conclusions drawn are counter intuitive when applied to the real world. As individuals or politicians we are very selective in how we use or abuse them. An example:
The Government's greatest professed economic concern is deflation yet their preferred measure of inflation the CPI, which has a target of 2%, is currently 3.2%. My interpretation: so if actual inflation NOW is 60% over their own target then why tear the economy apart, penalising the prudent using artificially low interest rates and excessive public borrowing that might possibly prevent possible deflation in the future?
It would be an interesting debate for us posters to EV to debate the REAL level of inflation. The 2009 basket of goods says we spend on average 12.8% on restaurants and hotels yet the weighting to food and non-alcoholic drinks is only 11.8%. Are you lucky enough to be able to spend 1/8th of your income in restaurants and hotels, more than you spend on food & non-alcoholic drink? Given that this category is discretionary expenditure and as such has a lot of downwards price pressure compared to food (which has increased in price by 18% over the last year) are the statistics used to justify the running of the country a joke. At our expense.
Benjamin Disraeli was wrong about how many kinds of lies there are:
There are 4 kinds of lies; lies, damned lies, statistics and then there are statistics quoted by politicians.