As to the political nonsense, whenever I read/hear that stuff it always reminds of when they would spend 2 or 3 minutes at the end of 60 Minutes reading letters they received about a story they did in the previous show. First, they would read a letter saying how 60 Minutes was obviously slanting the story in a particular way. Next, they would read a letter saying how 60 Minutes was obviously slanting the story in the exact opposite way the first letter indicated. Absolutely hilarious.
If you are interested sounding reasonable in a political argument I suggest two things.
1) Avoid statistics as much as possible. Mark Twain was right. The instant I see any statistic in a political context my first thought is, "Ok, how is this statistic distorting the issue?"
2) Take a few moments and realize neither you or the other person are likely to really know what is going on. Oh sure, you may have some basic understanding -- but in politics there is almost always a "bigger picture" situation...