Monday, February 02, 2009

Doing the math

SusanG at Daily Kos picks up on Josh Marshall's radical act: doing the math. As in looking at the items Republicans in Congress have been quibbling and caviling over.

Josh "grabbed a representative list of bogeyman programs cited by Rep. LoBiondo (R-NJ) and did the math."
Set aside whether you think these line items are worthwhile. (And it seems obvious to me that it's good for the economy to buy more vehicles for the government fleet, when our auto industry is cratering and demand for cars is flatlining.) But just add those up and you get a total -- $3.51 Billion -- out of $819 Billion.
Well, all right then. I have spent not quite half of my life working in accounting. I know how to let a spreadsheet do the calculating for me. So, with the help of Excel, I offer you this:

3.51 divided by 819 gives us 0.4286%. LESS THAN HALF OF ONE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL.

I have included a pie chart for the graphically inclined. The blue sliver represents that half a percent.

If that's all they have to gripe about then it's time for them to STFU. In accounting, amounts like this are commonly referred to as "ant turds" or "mouse nuts" (you have to love technical terms) or, in more formal parlance, as immaterial. You really don't need to worry about them. They are the equivalent of a SMALL rounding error.

I know that a billion dollars is A LOT of money, but you have to consider scale and proportionality. You don't screw over the American economy over a very small part of the total picture.

So pass the damn bill and get on with it already.

Did I mention that David Broder is an idiot and the Goopers have absolutely no ideas left to contribute other than the crap that's gotten us into this mess in the first place? I have? Good. And why the hell does anyone listen to - or provide a forum for - Grover Norquist who hates government and the People it represents?

SusanG concludes:
And this is exactly the kind of information that needs to be out there as the president tries to explain his program to the American people: All those "high-principled" no votes cast last week were about 1%-2% of the recovery plan.

Spread the word. Because it's looking more and more like the traditional media won't.
Now you know.

"Tag, you're it," as Thom Hartmann likes to say. " Democracy begins with you."

You are now responsible to spread the truth.

--the BB

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