Saturday, October 28, 2017

Who really can you believe anyway?

While I've heard that government statistics can be far from accurate, I've never really given it much thought if I could rely on that information or not. If it was a lie, how would I know it was a lie? How would I figure out the truth? It would be far easier to just assume that any government statistic is true. After all, I trust numbers. Those don't lie to me.

But when I run across an example where government officials just purely mess up to the point where it can't be hidden, then I realize that if I can't verify it, I just can't trust it.

A few weeks ago, I was curious about the population of Atlanta. Most people would say the population was 5 million people but that would include all the metro areas. The city itself only has a population of about 500,000 people. But just to make sure, I did a quick google search.

The most recent statistics put the population at 472,000 (as of 2016). It didn't even break 500,000. However, the chart looked a little weird. In 1999, the population was 401,000 and steadily increased to 540,000 in 2009. In 2010, the population took a nose dive and hit 422,000 and started steadily increasing from there.

How did this happen? How did Atlanta lose over 100,000 people over the course of a year. I was still in college at the time and I didn't hear stories of people rushing out of the city.

As it turns out, the census was taken in 2010 and a lot of estimates since the previous census were drastically incorrect. The details are explained in an article from the AJC.

I used to think I could trust basic stats as simple as population but even something as basic as "how many people live in a certain area" can be a very complex thing to figure out.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

US Life Expectancy Stalls

A quick google search reveals the following details.

US life expectancy is as of 2015 78.74 years. This is completely level since 2012.

In 2011, life expectancy was 78.64.

The life expectancy first broke 78 years in 2008.

The google search only has data up until 2015 and around December 2016, there was a flood of stories talking about the life expectancy declining for the first time in 20 years. I suppose the decline is noticed in a rounding error.

Towards the end of December, the information for 2016 might be released.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Middle Class Houses

I've heard that the current real estate market is hotter today then it was before the financial market meltdown in 2009. In the last few months, I noticed a lot of houses changing hands as well as new homes being built.

However, I noticed something somewhat odd. The houses being built were built for the upper class. Within a 10 mile radius from my house, I see multiple houses being built with price tags ranging from $300k to $500k and up. These are houses that have more room than the average American family really needs. These are two story houses that look like they have 3 to 4 bathrooms and probably 5 or 6 bedrooms. I guess these could be single family houses... with extra capacity for comfort.

But where are the smaller more reasonable single family houses? Where are the starter houses? I don't see those being built.

I keep thinking that the middle class is slowly and consistently disappearing. These large houses are being built and within the same 10 mile radius of my house, there are some really dirty looking neighborhoods that look like drug dealer houses. Houses that look like they are occupied by section 8 tenants.

My generation doesn't buy houses as much as they rent houses. And if reasonable sized and priced homes aren't being built, they won't be buying houses anytime soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Core Values

It is important to have a set of core values. Without having a set of core values to believe in, a man can only believe what other people tell him. He wouldn't be able to tell if a person was trying to feed him nonsense.

These are my core values.

Problems arise when people defer responsibilities to others.

Most government programs exist just because people didn't want to take responsibilities for their own actions.

Why do we have unemployment insurance? It is a protection in the event a man loses his job and needs some time to find another job. However, this is a program that encourages people to live paycheck to paycheck. Before unemployment insurance existed, a man would have to save up a few months worth of savings in the event he got fired.

The same can be said for Social Security. Social Security is a program that gives a man a small income during old age because he might be in no shape to work. This encouraged the baby boomers to spend rather than save. Unfortunately, this kind of incentive diminished the importance of long term planning. And if the parents developed poor long term planning skills, then it is likely those skills didn't get passed on to the children.

Why do we have medicare? It is a protection in the event a man suffers from accidents or gets sick during old age. Heart attacks, stroke, and cancers are more common in old age. Unfortunately, this takes away the incentive for people to focus on health and live destructive lifestyles.

Why do we have Section 8, WIC, child support, SNAP, etc, etc, etc...?

It's all for the same reason. It is to defer responsibility.