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$1,430 for every person on earth: What was Bachmann talking about?

by Joe Bodell on February 20, 2009 · 3 comments

Thanks to the brouhaha over Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s latest round of questionable statements before a friendly media audience, the DCCC got in on the game and made a note of one more piece of the interview on which we haven’t put to much focus:

As families across the country are struggling to make ends meet and businesses large and small are closing their doors, it has been determined that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s refusal to support the American Economic Recovery Package may be because she simply didn’t understand the simple math behind this necessary and responsible legislation.  On KTLK’s Chris Baker Show, Michele Bachmann claimed “The amount of money that’s been committed by this Democrat government already, the amount of money that they have committed, your tax money to spend, would equal, and I’m not making this up, a check in the amount of $1,430 written to every man, woman, child in the world.”

Let’s see, Start Button, Applications, Accessories, Calculator….1430 x 6700000000 (approximate population of the world)…. that works out to $9.5 trillion. Even if you accept the GOP talking point that “this is a trillion-dollar spending bill” (it’s not), that’s still a pretty dramatic error on the part of the Congresswoman.

If you’re more reality-based than the Republican Party in Washington, then the difference between the $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts recently signed into law by President Obama is even more dramatic — we’re talking “a factor of 12″ dramatic.

So what was she talking about? $787 billion divided equally among all the world’s people = $117/person. $787 billion / the U.S. population = $2,580/person. Perhaps she was using the GOP talking point that it’s closer to a trillion dollars?  That works out to $149/person on earth, or $3,278/American.

This $1,430 figure is a mystery.

In MinnPost’s brief note about the story, conservative commentator Thomas Swift commented “It’s obvious that Bachmann mispoke.” That much is certain, but once again we return to what is now an old debate — what’s the difference between “misspeaking” and “lying”?

Is it foreknowledge that what you are saying is false?

Does that make a difference?

Shouldn’t a member of Congress know that what they are about to say in public is true, both factually and contextually?

Let’s all remember that this is not the first time she has “misspoken” in public — the Super-Secret Partition Plan for Iraq and her call for an investigation into whether members of Congress are pro-America or anti-America spring to mind. Were those incidents simply misspoken, or was something more important than the truth on her mind?

In any case, if Rep. Bachmann is so upset about the Stimulus bill that she’s willing to “misspeak” so brazenly about it, perhaps we should ask Congress and the White House to amend the bill so that the funds intended to make her district the biggest winner in Minnesota in terms of job savings and gains can go somewhere else, where the Congressional representation doesn’t “misspeak” as often or consistently.

Dave Thul February 21, 2009 at 4:39 am

Bloomberg.com did the math for you almost two weeks ago.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/
Just because you personally don’t understand something doesn’t mean it is wrong.

jgaanderson February 21, 2009 at 6:23 am

According to the Bloomberg article:
“Only the stimulus bill to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates enacted in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion is in lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the Fed and FDIC. Recipients’ names have not been disclosed. “
which means that your response and Bachman’s claim that the Democrat[sic] government has spent more of your tax dollars than the above noted $700 billion TARP, $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates and the $800 billion in the ARRA (total $1,668 billion or about $25 per person in the world) are both misrepresentations/lies.
To paraphrase:  Just because you personally didn’t read and/or understand something doesn’t mean you should quote it as a source.

tom a. February 21, 2009 at 10:09 am

Which isn’t the same as spent but I’m sure the numbers won’t add up any way.  Our government is really blowing through the dough no matter how you add it up however.  The 790 billion stimulus, 2 trillion latest bank bailout, the latest 700 billion mortgage bailout (that the President says will be implemented in two weeks), and all this is “just a start”.  The numbers are adding up fast, so $1430 per person may seem small, just like her $2.00 gas idea…

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