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Finding the truth through numbers

Marie Moya | Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dear Mr. Pilger,

I have a wee little quibble with your argument from Monday (“Perry’s ‘injustice,’ Aug. 29). It’s not that I believe Americans don’t pay enough in income taxes, or that the tax code is fine as it is (it most certainly could use some changes), but rather, your statistics on Texas jobs and education don’t tell the whole story. You wrote that Texas “leads the nation in minimum wage jobs and adults without high school education.” I have no objection to the statement, but there were a few facts missing.

It is true that Texas has many people working in minimum wage jobs and many people who don’t have high school education, but it also has a very large immigrant population. What the statistics fail in mentioning is that many of the immigrants (especially undocumented immigrants) come into this nation with little or no high school education. Many of them work in whatever job they can find, often in jobs with smaller paychecks. Also quoted: “Statistics show that 26 percent of Texans lack health insurance.” If this statistic is “adjusted” for the number of immigrants who may not be able to purchase health insurance because of citizenship status, then the percentage is much smaller.

Perhaps I see things a little differently because I see through the eyes of a Western Texan. Perhaps I’m just a fan of precise, truth-telling numbers. I see no problem in the statistics themselves; in fact, I applaud you for using them. I just want everyone to see some of the other details in the numbers and to learn to take all statistics with a grain of salt.

Marie Moya


Cavanaugh Hall

Aug. 29