Fox News Chyron Fails Mathematics


OH NOES! Fox News' Chyrons have been all a-chirrup with alarm and outrage over the size of President Barack Obama's budget, which is terrifying and socialist, apparently. Here's what they've been beaming out onto out teevees today:


Now, I have had some experience with mathematics, up to including some mathematics I took in college. My rigorous academic training teaches me that if this Obama budget is four times larger than the costliest Bush budget, then the costliest Bush budget was $900 billion. I have corroborated these findings with two calculators.

Here's the thing, though.

President Bush sent a $2.9 trillion spending plan to a Democratic-controlled Congress on Monday, proposing a big increase in military spending, including billions more to fight the war in Iraq, while squeezing the rest of government to meet his goal of eliminating the deficit in five years.

Oh. And another thing!

President Bush submitted a federal budget of $3.1 trillion on Monday, declaring that the spending plan would keep the United States safe and prosperous and, despite its record size, would adhere to his principle of letting Americans keep as much of their own money as possible.

So, either the Chyron means to say: OBAMA BUDGET=4X(BUSH'S COSTLIEST BUDGET) where X=0.29032258064516129032258064516129, or Fox News needs to re-enroll in some remedial math classes.

Seriously, though? This ridiculousness is compounded by the fact that the Obama administration has done away with the "dumb budget gimmicks" that the Bush budgets reveled in using to obscure the true costs of some, you know, TOTALLY MINOR EXPENDITURES, like the odd "Iraq War" or "natural disaster" or "massive alternative minimum tax pretenses." As the Times put it:

Mr. Obama's banishment of the gimmicks, which have been widely criticized, is in keeping with his promise to run a more transparent government.

Fiscal sleight of hand has long been a staple of federal budgets, giving rise to phrases like "rosy scenario" and "magic asterisks."

So, maybe the Chyron is missing its magical asterisk!

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