Should Obama give every one $425,000??

It is always amazing to me what people will believe from the most random emails they receive. The only credibility they seem to rely on is something like how it's a person that they may have once associated with who took an economics class in junior high school. An acquaintance of mine was sucked into the same process by a certain email he received from a co-worker who was also his assistant scout master. Note that both of these men are truck drivers who at the most look at the New York Times maybe twice a year for the sports section! So in a random conversation that somehow made its way to the discussion of the current economic situation, he brought up this email that he had received about the latest stimulus package. Looking back on it i realize that the funniest part about this whole conversation was how converted he was to this idea! He told me about the 80 Billion dollar stimulus package that Obama was trying to pass and how he was using it all wrong. He explained to me that Obama should take the money, that would be used for bailing out large corporations, and split it up between the 200 Million working Americans evenly. If this were done, every person would receive $425,000! The people would be required to use the money to pay off all mortgages and other debts first, and that then the rest could be used in any way that they wanted in order to build the economy. What an awesome idea!! And this guy could not figure out why the government would be so dumb as to not see such a simple solution! Well i'm not big on trying to pull down other peoples views, at least not to their face. Plus i obviously wasn't sure myself whether it was a good idea of not. But obviously being quite hesitant to just except the idea, I asked Professor Tufte what he thought of the plan. A simple calculation of the numbers cleaned the matter right up. What turned out to be the truth is that obviously the stimulus was for 800 Billion to begin with. And if you divide 200 Million into 800 Billion, the answer is far from $425,00 per worker. It actually only works out to be . A further investigation on the subject lead to snopes.com where the issue was easily resolved. I never did tell my him about my findings, although i probably should. It is just astounding how easy it is for someone to read something that dumb and believe it so intensely.


anthony said...

This reminds me of back when gas was over $4.00 a gallon, and all those rumors were going around myspace and text messages that said everyone was going to boycott gas for a day, and that would instantly cause prices to plummet. I remember when one person tried to convince me to take part in it. It amazes me too how some people will believe just about anything.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Calvin for poor grammar and spelling.

LOL Anthony: this reminds me of when everyone said if they flip houses in St. George they'll get rich. We're very selective about looking for only the information that serves our interests.

Abigail said...

I actually accompanied a close friend to a real estate/multilevel marketing seminar(scam meeting) where the instructed encouraged those of us attending school to drop out and start flipping houses. His reasoning behind this was that times are not the same as when our parents where college and the rewards are not worth the lost time. I got up and left. I would like to know what that guy is doing now.