Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why The President Should Know At Least A Little Math

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.

11 comments:

ChrisA said...

An interesting cross between hilarious and horrifying. I believe President Obama would feel right at home with the students from the Atmospheric Sciences 101 class at the University of Washington.

Ellen K said...

This story was pretty widely distributed by 8 am CST today. I posted it. It's all over various websites. It makes these people look like mindless dweebs. All I can figure is Obama went off prompter again. But seriously, are the people listening to the nonsense being served up by these folks. This stuff goes beyond lies to the point of comedy.

Fritz J. said...

Don't worry, the discount will only apply to those people living in states 51 through 57, or is it 60. Or perhaps it's going to apply to those people whose job was saved in the mythical congressional districts. You can be sure none or the rest of us will ever see it. Should I turn the sarcasm off?

Mr. W said...

I don't know if I should joke about this man wanting national standards or if I should be upset that the national media didn't call him on it.

maxutils said...

Having not seen it, I assumed that he would have been joking, exaggerating for humorous effect: "It would be, like, a billion times cheaper!" but, no -- he was earnest. Wow. In fairness, though, I'm sure that George W. would have agreed with those figures.

Alf said...

I agree with you 110%!

Darren said...

Oh, Max, you don't get to take a pot shot at President Bush on this one. He didn't even *try* to get the government to take over health care.

He did plenty to disagree with, but this isn't one of those things.

PeggyU said...

It's hard to argue with my son about the need to understand basic arithmetic when he can point to the career success of buffoons like this one.

PeggyU said...

If you watch the entire speech, you will find there were other arithmetic errors as well. And this line, "If it's good enough for the American people, it's good enough for those who send us to Washington ..." The teleprompter must have stayed home during this trip.

DADvocate said...

I've always been peeved by those who think doubling something is a 200% increase. (For the math challenged, it's a 100% increase.) But, this takes the cake. No wonder he thinks his plans will balance the budget or whatever. He doesn't understand elementary school math.

PeggyU said...

The video was somewhat timely for us, in that our youngest son just wrapped up a math unit that involved calculating percent increase/decrease.

If Obama plans to do any more tv spots, he should probably give "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader" a miss.