An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Right-wing Radicals Have a Math Problem

Alternet's Joshua Holland reports on a brand new right wing lie. It goes something like this: [hair on fire] "Half of all our hard earned tax money goes to poor people who are not working!" Or, as stated by the liar in his own words: "Welfare spending per day per household in poverty is $168, which is higher than the $137 median income per day." [Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard].

This is a simple lie that divides one number - the money - by a smaller number than the actual recipients. Holland breaks it down neatly:

 But in Colorado, which I chose because it tends to be ideologically middle-of-the-road, the average eligibility cut-off for the 10 means-tested federal benefits listed  here is $18,075, or 62 percent above the federal poverty line.
The myth can be expressed mathematically like this: Total Spending On “Welfare”/Families in poverty = $168 per day. But these services benefit many more people than those struggling under the poverty line – one may as well divide those costs by the total number of rabbits or blue cars in the U.S.
The reality, expressed mathematically, is: Total Spending On “Welfare”/Those who receive benefits = $24.77 per day. That's a  lot less than $168. [emphasis mine]

So, we take X amount of money then

P = people under the federal poverty line.
N = All the recipients of X amount of money (which includes P).

X ÷ (N-P) = LIE

They're either really bad at math or they know that they're lying.

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