By Stu Burguiere
Every year (until I forget), we do a statistics of the year column. It’s sort of like an awards show, except with 45 percent fewer drunk people slurring their words, 93 percent fewer bizarre liberal rants on stage and 4 percent less cleavage (I need to start doing pushups). So without further word wasting, here are my favorite stats of the year.
America Consumes 25 percent of the World’s Oil But Has Just 3 Percent of the World’s Oil Reserves.
This is a favorite of Harry Reid, along with millions of other Democrats attempting to argue for new green energy sources. It’s even used by Republicans arguing for independence from foreign oil, but the stat is a complete sham. It is specifically designed to make your brain do one thing: Compare 3 percent and 25 percent. "We only have 3 percent, and we need 25 percent—we’re screwed! I better vote for the guy who told me about it!" It works really well, which is why so many repeat it.
But you cannot compare these numbers. Why? They are percentages of different things. The 3 percent of the "world’s oil" refers to the entire Earth’s oil reserves. The 25 percent is referring to the oil industries’ current daily production. To oversimplify—which is bigger: 25 percent of my bank account or 3 percent of Peyton Manning’s?
This stat would only make sense if production were precisely symmetrical with oil reserves, which it is not, and if usage was also symmetrical, which it is not. Nigeria has a lot of oil but they don’t use it like we do.
Of course, people who use stats like this routinely ignore oil sands, natural gas, and coal-to-liquid technology that we could utilize to actually lower our dependence on oil. If we use those "alternative fuels," there is no crisis whatsoever. Unfortunately, those alternatives aren’t the ones we’re supposed to be rooting for.
6.4 Million of the Uninsured Are Insured
You didn’t read that wrong. More than 6 million people that we count as uninsured, actually have insurance. They just incorrectly answered the census question.
Why Do We Have the Best Health Care?
One reason: Our top five hospitals conduct more clinical tests than hospitals in any other developed nation. This also helps answer why our health care is more expensive than in other countries. I guess we could just stop doing these tests and hope Mongolia picks up the slack.
The Most Depressing Chart on the Planet
We all talk about cutting government spending to solve our debt problems, but most of us don’t realize how difficult that is. If the debt is the sun, this circle chart serves as the moon in a solar eclipse. Look in its general direction and your retinas dissolve.
We can all agree that one chunk of this pie can’t be cut for a long, long, long time: Part E. That’s the interest on our debt. To change that even by a penny, we would need to somehow move away from Obama-style deficits to a surplus bigger than the interest payments and then actually use the surplus to pay down the debt. Then we’d have to avoid other new programs like health care, get the economy going at a brisk pace, avoid interest rate hikes and credit-rating downgrades. So, that’s untouchable for the foreseeable future. And, by foreseeable future, I mean any time before the year 6722.
So, how do you cut the rest? Politically speaking, it’s close to impossible. Most of the spending is required by law; meaning you’d have to actually pass something through Congress to change it. The left is not going to let you touch their entitlement programs. If you do, you’ll hate the elderly, the poor and the children, so most politicians won’t even bother. Recall that even one of the promises of the Republican Party at the moment is not to cut Medicare.
These political realities (read: the lack of a spine in our politicians) mean you can’t cut parts A (Social Security), B (Medicare), C (Medicaid/SCHIP), or D (Unemployment/Welfare/Other Mandatory Spending).
And while the left will fall on their sword protecting A through D, the right will do the same protecting part F (that’s the Department of Defense and the War on Terror).
There’s little room to compromise. Would you trade a $100 billion cut in welfare for a $100 billion cut in defense spending? I wouldn’t. The last thing I want is our military pinching pennies when trying to stop my local mall from exploding. There’s little public support for the cuts either. Only 2 percent of Americans support cuts in Social Security—6 percent for Medicare, 10 percent for Medicaid and 18 percent for the military.
So, where does all of that leave us?
Untouchable to the left: 53.5 percent
Untouchable to the right: 21.6 percent
Untouchable to everyone: 8.5 percent
Total untouchable: 83.6 percent
While there is plenty of waste like earmarks, bridges to nowhere and National Otter Museums in the remaining 14 percent, there are also expenses like the Judicial Branch, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Executive Office of the President that aren’t going anywhere.
Bottom line? I hate to sound like Glenn, but… we’re screwed. Go stock up on shoes and soup.
Who Watches Communism? You do!
Our documentary The Revolutionary Holocaust: Live Free or Die could have been used in a TV programming class as a lesson of what not to do. A special, featuring eastern European history professors and presidents of countries you’ve barely heard of, about the intricacies of communism and famine airing on a Friday night? Who would watch that? Apparently, you.
The documentary had the highest ratings we’ve ever had, beating Chris Matthews that night by a margin of over 13 to 1. I suppose this might be my favorite stat of them all. It’s great to see MSNBC’s famine of viewers continue.
Send Stu hatemail at Stu@glennbeck.com