The dangers of using the “Tax Payers’ Alliance” as a source of information

Latest message from John Glen:Taxpayersalliancegraph

 Here is the graph (from the link in the message above) that I am “reluctant to share with you”. It didn’t have a title so I have added one:

UK vs OECD Spending as % of GDP

spendingvsoecd1

It comes from the Tax Payers’ Alliance (TPA) and so unsurprisingly is designed to deceive us.

I will be kind and assume that the incorrect label for the black line is probably just a mistake because it should be labelled OECD Average.  But the expanded vertical scale is clearly designed to exaggerate the relatively small difference between the UK and the OECD average, 44% vs 40% for 2007 just before the Banking crisis.  It also misinforms by simply using the OECD average which hides the fact that the OECD  includes countries like South Korea – not a country we would normal compare ourselves with.

To shed some light on the debate I have shown below a graph that shows the full OECD data, not the TPA distorted version.

oecdspending

Interestingly, the UK seems to be pretty much in the middle.  Ireland had one of the lowest government spending figures – look what happened to them!

I feel no obligation to defend New Labour under Blair / Brown but I do object to current politicians trying to blame the mess we are now in on a previous government based on made up facts and distortions.   In the end reality always wins – as we are beginning  to witness.

 

Source of Figure 5 above:
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2009/10/02/6746/comparing-public-spending-and-priorities-across-oecd-countries/

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