How to lie with statistics

Published: Monday, Jun. 23, 2014 - 4:06 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2014 - 10:17 am

Re "Seniors to skew state's balance" (Page A1, June 23): Anita Creamer and Phillip Reese rehashed an old scare story that faces all of us, young and old. The graph labeled "California working-age adults per senior citizen" perpetrated the same statistical flaw that drives all the discussions about Social Security funds and pension funds going bankrupt in 2040 or so. Why not show the graph for the following two decades, when the baby boomers are no longer here? When the descending line starts going back up again?

Newsweek magazine had a delightful image of boomers as the largest group in the population no matter how old we are--on a bell curve. Boomers would be like a rabbit going through the alimentary canal of a boa constrictor. This looming problem of a large number of old folks draining the economy is temporary.

We should be adjusting programs accordingly, not seeing them as doomed.

-- Connie Finster, Sacramento

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