The dark art of graph reading

Unemployment and Tax Rates

Reading and understanding the meaning behind graphs and charts is very complex, which is why it should never be left to amateurs. For example, the above graph has been circulated around the web by liberals who claim that it shows that lowering taxes on the rich does not actually reduce unemployment.

Indeed, when viewed by inexperienced and irrational people, like liberals for example, it might appear that although the tax rate on the rich has been readily decreasing (red line), the unemployment rate has gone up and down in the same basic range with no obviously apparent pattern (blue line). Thus they conclude that decreasing taxes on the rich does not lead to a decrease of unemployment.


Reading graphs is actually a very exact and mysterious science, like medicine or numerology, and should only be practiced by people with a keen eye and intellect who know what to look for and what results they want to see.

A correct interpretation of this graph is as follows:

Unemployment and Taxes - Clarification

As you can see, each time that taxes on the rich were decreased there was a corresponding decrease in unemployment.  Now, it didn’t always happen right away… sometimes things take time to have their effect.  Plus, there are other ups and downs in unemployment that obviously were also influenced by other factors: world markets, regulation laws, fear of a black president, and so on.  But the fact remains that once you remove the “noise” in the unemployment rate, and account for the time delays, there exists a decrease in unemployment for every decrease in taxes on the rich.

Those are hard, numerical facts.


graph source: U.S. Department of Labor
found via:

3 Replies to “The dark art of graph reading”

  1. I agree there are risks to the economy. Flooding a few large banks and insurance companies with hundreds of billions in liquidity is a very bad strategy.

  2. I still fail to see any correlation whatsoever to the ups and downs of unemployment regarding tax rates during the time graphed, and I learned stats from a completely apolitical discipline. As a purported liberal publication, you seem to prove the opposite point of what you were starting to propose. That is not a correlation of any significant action from one to the other, if any at all.

  3. Hi, could you redraw the graph with the real percentage rate, please? By real percentage rate I mean when you take into account all the loopholes, deductions,…

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