I have been harshly critical of budget reporting in the media for being uninformative to readers. I think the NYT is trying to help me make my point. It ran an article telling readers about GOP plans to have a $40 billion cut in food stamp spending.
Okay how much money is that? Will all of us taxpayers see big savings if we cut back food stamps by this amount?
Well, if we go to the Center for Economic and Policy Research's new super neat budget calculator we would see that $40 billion is equal to 1.2 percent of projected spending this year.
But wait! If I'm not mistaken -- yes, while it is not mentioned in this article, these cuts are actually for a 10-year appropriation, starting in 2014. According to the calculator that would be 0.086 percent of projected spending over this period. (Hey one year, ten years, who can keep track?) This means that the cuts may be a big deal for the people affected, but probably will not allow for many extra vacations for ordinary taxpayers.
Come on folks, these articles are supposed to be providing information to readers. This one did not.