Question

The companion website for Just Plain Data Analysis by Gary Klass shows a number of examples of badly drawn or unethical charts. Browse through the Internet as well as books, reports, and articles to see if you can find another example of a badly drawn or an unethical chart. Attach an image of the chart to your post. Explain why the chart is badly drawn or unethical, the possible implications of the way the chart has been drawn, and ways in which the chart could be improved.

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The following graph, showing the history of inflation adjusted US budget surpluses and deficits is an unethical graph because it is attempting to show that the current (recent) deficit is much worse than the one used to finance World War II. The argument is that this is true when the effects of inflation are considered. While the current large deficits are undoubtedly problematic, and the graphed statistics are not necessarily wrong, the statistics convey the wrong information. Debts (and surpluses) should, in contrast be viewed as a percent of Gross Domestic Product, and because GDP has also grown with inflation, the ratio will be the same whether it is presented on a real (inflation-adjusted) or nominal basis. Importantly, the US GDP has grown significantly (on a nominal and real basis) since the 1940s, and the graph below does not reflect that important fact....
Badly Drawn or Unethical Charts (410 words)

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