Thursday 30 July 2009

Why I have little faith in surveys

I like doing surveys, more so that I can pull apart the questions and see how they are skewed more than anything else. This survey is instructive, because I have seen the same sort of methodology used with climate change surveys. This one was about health and dental care.

"Thinking about your personal situation, how much would you be prepared to pay per annum from your personal income to have universal dental care for all?"

I don't have to think very long at all about this - absolutely zero. Brush your teeth, visit the dentist on a regular basis, and put money aside to pay for scaling and cleaning and so on. If you look after your teeth, they generally tend not to require hideously expensive dental work.

Buy was there an answer that said "$0"? No. The minimum amount I could choose was $15.

So even though I violently object to this whole dental care scam, I have no option to say that I don't want to contribute a red cent. I can't wait to see the results of the survey, but I am sure they will say something like, "Most Australians are willing to contribute $46 per year to dental care" etc etc etc. This number will be skewed by our inability to say "nothing".

I highly recommend you visit the tax check website and find out where the money you give the government this year is going. Apparently I am already tipping at least $3,000 a year into the health budget - why should I now have to tip in another $750 or more for bludgers that can't be bothered to floss and brush on a regular basis?

If I was running this survey, I'd ask the question this way:

Assume you are 18 years old, and just entering the work force. With the pension age going up to 70, you are facing 50 years of wage slavery and paying income taxes to support tit-sucking wastoids. How do you feel about paying the following total amounts to fix the teeth of junkies, welfare fraudsters and ignorant, lazy sods over the next 50 years:

a. $15,000
b. $30,000
c. $50,000
d. $100,000
e. $150,000

Think about option 'b' for a second. It assumes paying an average of $600 per year into a universal dental care scheme over 50 years, and paying $600 per year equates to a taxable income of $80,000 under the current proposal.

I ask you this - would you prefer to put aside $30,000 over your working life to pay for your dental care, and the dental care of your kids, or do you want the government to take that money away from you and then decide how they will spend it and who they will spend it on?

1 comment:

daddy dave said...

that's not evidence that surveys are worthless.
That's evidence of a badly designed survey. The probleem was that it did not establish first up whether you were opposed, in principle, to paying for other people's dental care. It assumed that universal dental care was a good outcome, and that everyone doing the survey would think it was a good outcome, and so all that remained was to do some data-gathering of the monetary cost-benefit sweet spot.