How To Manipulate Numbers To Draw Really Dumb Conclusions

The American Thinker posted an article today linking to an Atlanta Journal Constitution article entitled, “Who Wins With Higher Gas Prices?”  Dan Chapman, who wrote the article, cites statistical proof that high gas prices result in better public health.

The American Thinker cites part of the article:

“Other health benefits accrue to higher gas prices. Charles Courtemanche, an economics professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, recently published a study showing that a sustained $1 increase in the price of a gallon of gas results in a 10 percent drop in the nation’s obesity rate.

“Americans who walk and bike more often and eat at restaurants less often will suffer fewer obesity-related diseases. Every $1 uptick in gas prices saves 11,000 lives and $11 billion in health-care costs annually. [Emphasis mine]”

American Thinker points out what happens when you follow this logic to its obvious conclusion:

“In other words, if gas prices increase by $40 per gallon, we can virtually eliminate obesity in America (do the math). But even better, if we raise the price per gallon by $27,275.00, we can save the lives of every American, presumably in perpetuity, and erase the national debt.”

We’d better be careful and not give the environmentalists any wild ideas!  There are a few things Dan Chapman leaves out–what increased gasoline prices do to the price of food, making it more difficult for lower income families to buy healthy food, people who work 30 or 40 miles from home in an area that does not have public transportation, and the crippling effect increased fuel costs have on the economy.  This is truly a really dumb statistical conclusion. 

1 thought on “How To Manipulate Numbers To Draw Really Dumb Conclusions

Comments are closed.