Here Dean Baker in a post on his blog Beat the Press is scolding the Washington Post for failing to provide adequate context to understand some numbers it published:
Shocking News: Not Everyone Who Got Stimulus Money Paid Their Taxes!Funny. This is a lesson that every journalist should learn early in his schooling. But apparently the Washington Post hires "journalists" who haven't learned the basics.
The Washington Post called readers attention to this shocking item today in an article on a new report from the Government Accountability Office that found stimulus recipients owe $750 million in taxes on $24 billion in stimulus payments. Of course people cheat on their taxes on non-stimulus income also.
It would have been helpful to compare the rate of cheating on stimulus with non-stimulus income to determine if compliance was especially bad with stimulus income. The Internal Revenue Service reported that $345 billion in taxes went uncollected in 2006, more than 4 percent of total income in that year. This suggest that the rate of tax evasion with stimulus funds (@ 3.1 percent) might be somewhat lower than with income more generally. The Post should have included this comparison.