The offender I catch most frequently, by the way, is me. In this
website, I have tried to avoid them, but I'll let you be the judge
how well I did. If you spot any, go to the Feedback section and
Here are the most common ones:
A conclusion that does not follow logically from the premise.
We've piled up $5.4 trillion in debt; we'd better institute
Jumping to conclusions before considering alternative information.
We ran a deficit again last year; we're still borrowing to
Generalizing from a small sample.
We need to shut down the border; our welfare rolls are already
thinking (aka: False dilemma).
Ignores other relevant alternatives.
We've got to make the tough decision: raise taxes or cut spending.
hoc, ergo propter hoc" (Latin for: "after this,
therefore because of this")
Assuming that A caused B, simply because B followed A.
There's been an eclipse just before every stock market crash.
You'd better liquidate, because there's an eclipse next month.
Assumes truth without supporting evidence.
Debt is a burden on our children.
Asserting the same idea in different words.
The growing popularity of a Balanced Budget Amendment shows
that people are fed up with deficits.
One-sided argument; completely ignores contrary evidence.
Debt is a virus that's eating us alive. We'll be bankrupt by
Sidetracking by bringing in an irrelevant matter.
We'd better kill the supercollider project, because debt is
a burden on our children.
Asserts truth because contrary evidence is lacking.
The supercollider would never have paid for itself.
Appeal to popular emotions, feelings, and prejudices.
We've already piled $20,000 of debt on every man, woman, and
child in America.
Attacking the person instead of the issue.
You think deficits don't matter? You, sir, are brain-dead.
Comparison to something more unalike than similar.
I have to balance my personal checkbook; why shouldn't the
federal government have to?
the end of the official list. However, I think I've discovered
a new one:
The Snapshot Fallacy
Take a snapshot, examine it for things one likes or doesn't like,
then draw conclusions about what should be different to make things
better. The fallacy is this: A snapshot is a poor substitute for
The gap between rich and poor is too great. We must redistribute
income to correct this inequity.