WAPO Tosses The Big Budget Numbers at Readers

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Friday, 12 July 2013 04:59

How concerned are you that the House farm bill would spend $195 billion on farm subsidies over the next decade? How about the baseline of $740 billion for spending on food stamps. Would you be more or less concerned if the numbers were $19.5 billion and $74 billion? Would you have any idea what these numbers mean?

The government is projected to spend $47.2 trillion over the next decade. This makes the farm subsidies equal to 0.4 percent of projected spending. The $740 billion figure for food stamps would be less than 1.6 percent of projected spending. The Post article on the bill would have provided much more information to readers if it had expressed the spending figures as a share of the budget rather than as dollar amounts that have almost no meaning to anyone.