‘Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics’
How can the Washington Time’s spin a 50 billion dollar bailout to GM as a 84 billion dollar loss ? Simple really.
First ignore the fact that the overall TARP program is now likely to show a profit. Fair enough, they are just talking about GM, but how to spin a 84 billion loss when we’re only in 50 billion ?
Start by assuming they won’t pay down that any more of the debt with the rest of the stock sales: CHECK
Now, factor in the potential tax losses of 45 billion from lawful losses offset against future profits. :CHECK
That gives us a 84 billion dollar loss.
Of course we have to assume we would not have lost the 45 billion in GM taxes if GM was no longer in business and further assume no tax losses or harm to the economy of putting a few 100,000 workers out on the street.
You’d have to twist statistics into a pretzel to assume GM stock is not going higher at the same time you are predicting a 45 billion dollar tax loss from a profitable company. To ignore the potential losses from a GM failure at the same time just shows how far you’ll go to prove the truth of:
“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments, and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support their positions.