Isabelle Roughol – The J junkie

The tribulations of a young journalist and writer looking for work

How much is that economic stimulus plan worth? (aka journos do know math sometimes, aka I pick at the Times again)

with one comment

Ms. Finicky here. I need to point out an interesting discrepancy in two news alerts I received from the New York Times yesterday. No, I’m not picking on the Times; when you’re a great news outlet read daily by people with great expectations, you’re just more likely to be blogged about. I have ceased to have any expectations of my hometown paper, for instance, and thus don’t blog about it.

So, the Times’ news alerts. First,

5:22 p.m. ET – Senate Approves $171 Billion Stimulus Plan

And later,

7:43 p.m. ET – Congress Passes $168 Billion Stimulus Plan

Where did the 3 billions go? The difference could pass unnoticed; 3 is a small number, but 3 billions sure isn’t. Quick math. That’s 150,000 times my yearly tuition, just under 52,651 straight years at my minimum wage job, 20,000 new armored humvees or two-thirds of the entire USAID 2008 budget for Africa.

That’s the way economics work: a penny on a stock price matters, but 3 billions on the U.S. budget don’t. Still, I’m curious: were the reporters in those 2-something hours able to pin down a more accurate number, or was something changed to the bill? I put it to the Times’ public editor (that’s right, I got nothing better to do on a Friday night). I’ll let you know if I hear back.

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Written by Isabelle Roughol

Friday, 8 February, 2008 at 23:00

Posted in Economics, News

One Response

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  1. I notice that as well. Strange stuff…

    Greg Linch

    Saturday, 9 February, 2008 at 05:20


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