Fractions Thereof and Percentages are Understood
Another thing that must change for the sake of understanding and truthfulness is how we report income of the masses to the masses. Income must, from now on, be reported as percentages of everything relevant and everything being compared with income. Percentage relative to average personal earnings. Percentage of income from per capita persons in existence as earners. Percentages of comparisons, for example “2-1 or 66% of earners below $50,000.” Percentages are fractions and fractions are more easily understood by everyone and place our numbers in relative terms. By expressing our national economics in percentages and fractions, we allow for the less numerically practiced working Americans, to understand economy.
A great specific example of poor reporting on numbers that effect us all, is when we hear the common reporting of “the wage gap between the top 1% of earners verses the bottom 20% of earners is getting larger!” Few if any newspapers or television news reports will explain what this means. It means the bottom 20% is earning less and the top 1% is earning more (not the same . . more . . increasing). Why count these fractions of the population as first 1/5th and then 1/100th? Its easier to count the rich verses the lower middle class and poor, who are more elusive, sometimes don’t even file taxes (not enough income), so getting more participants in the polling of the lower middle class and poor means a more accurate result. The reporting of the “gap” getting larger means that upward mobility in America, a trait that few would disagree grows the middleclass and thus grows productivity and grows the nation in general, is faltering, worse . . . it could be said, actually causing our economy to move backwards.
Truth in Budget Reporting
Few realize that since Ronald Reagan was forced to make-up for his frivolous tax breaks for the upper class, the Social Security trust fund has been raided in budgets every year, save for a few during the Clinton administration. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear this number when the numbers of the annual budget were released, how much of the Social Security trust fun has been stolen (errr borrowed) from? Perhaps the added attention would bring added outrage from the voters?
The same type of reporting needs to be given to the state of Medicare and Medicaid. Two related programs suffering a hemorrhage from rising health care costs, treatment happy doctors, corrupt secondary providers, greedy health care accessories makers, and the programs take a bruising from an uncompassionate congress, which year after year (during republican reign), chose to cut the budgets. These cuts were seldom if not too quietly reported to the people. The people should know, loudly and widespread, when these programs are being cut and or changed in anyway significant.
Understanding our Wallets
For so many people, economics and mathematics are nasty words, to me grammar is a nasty word. Just explaining something mathematical involves negative terms like “ . . then you have to . . .” But television news could do a great job of helping Americans break through this negativity barrier, by using fractions and percentages only whenever possible, by using colorful graphics, funny graphics, memorable images. I know, asking the media to do the right thing is next to impossible if ratings can’t be proved before hand. But the media should consider that this is one of those new and fascinating shticks what’s novel presence alone might just get better ratings for any television news show or newspaper. Percentages, fractions thereof, graphics . . a more understanding population may lead to a congress that writes responsible budgets, and increases all around accountability in programs.