More screwy statistics from the government

I ranted the other day about the vogue for bogus statistics that seems to be rampant.

David Isenberg has a doozy from the Department of Commerce, after studies produced by the OECD and International Telecommunications Union showing the US lagging lots of countries in broadband penetration:

Mike Gallagher is hopping mad! He’s Bushco’s Assistant Secretary of Commerce in charge of the NTIA, the Executive Branch office responsible for the famous Bush Broadband Program, which would make, “universal affordable access to broadband technology by 2007.” He said,

“[T]hat is a completely inaccurate measure of the way the U.S. stands,” Gallagher said. Those who promote this statistic, he said, “are doing a disservice to the innovative atmosphere at home.” He said the United States had the greatest gross number of Internet users and broadband users — by substantial margins — and also leads the world in wireless “hot spots” and in the number of computers devoted to e-commerce. “This notion that the U.S. is 16th in the world is a disservice, disingenuous and just not true.”

So. The Bush measure of “universal affordable access to broadband” is the gross number of Internet users — dial-up users included? Or the number of computers devoted to e-commerce? Huh?

(BTW, the U.S. does lead the world in gross number of computers connected via broadband, but that’s because the U.S. is a big country. But China will lead in this statistic by 2008, and Bushco’s doing nothing to deflect this trajectory.)

Maybe next year Bushco’s broadband measure will include number of SUVs with TVs — after all SUVs are broad and TVs are usually on in an analog kind of way. Maybe it’ll be GPC — gallons per commercial — or TVPT — TVs per ton.

Invent a non-disservile measure, any measure. After all, the most obvious measure is a “disservice, disingenuous and just not true.”

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