I heard about this on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on my drive home from school today, and found the link at NewsAlert. In it, President Obama says that socializing our health care will result in a 3000% decrease in health care premiums for employers. No, really!:
Let's discuss this for a moment.
If you get a 50% decrease, that means premiums fall by half. If you get a 100% decrease in premiums, that means you'd be getting your insurance for free! So what does it mean to get a 3000% decrease? It means your insurance company is going to give your employer the insurance policy plus 29 times the premiums in cash!!!
Does this man really believe this? Do the sycophants he's talking to really believe this? Is he a liar? Does the audience care so much about putting their laws on my body (hehe) that they don't even care what he says to make it happen?
Yet it isn't just the president who should know math. Notice that you don't see one furrowed eyebrow behind him when he made this ignorant statement. No one in the peanut gallery said, "Huh? What?" at such an obviously stupid utterance. No, they just smiled and clapped and kept that Chris Matthews-like tingle going up their leg. Perhaps Justice Alito should have been there to utter "Not true" or Joe Wilson should have been there to call out "You lie!"
Had President Bush said something this stupid and innumerate, it would have led the national news for a week. I wonder if Diane Sawyer and the gang at ABC's World News Tonight will even mention it, much less call the president on it. Seriously, isn't this a bit worse than the Southern pronunciation of nu-cyu-lar?
Update, 6:01 pm: Nope, no mention at all of this on World News Tonight, even though they opened the broadcast with a story about health care reform.
Update #2, 3/21/10: Math guy and author John Allen Paulos has some politically neutral math questions for anyone who wants to be president.