Monday, June 14, 2010


Fred Schwarz blows apart a widely believed governmental "fact" with some simple arithmetic.

"They" say 2 million people attend NYC's annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. Well...

Now, let’s do a little arithmetic. The parade route stretches along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street (in years past, it went to 86th Street). Let’s call it 40 blocks. In that part of Manhattan, blocks are 20 to the mile, so that works out to two miles, or about 10,000 feet. Suppose each person in the crowd takes up two feet side to side, and that they were lined up 20 deep on each side of the street. That works out to 5,000 people times 40, for a crowd of around 200,000.

To account for any possible inaccuracies in this calculation, and to include people looking out windows or watching from side streets, kids on their parents’ shoulders, and anything else I may have missed, let’s make the heroic — nay, congressional — assumption that I’m off by a factor of 2.5. That would still be only half a million.

And then there's another way to debunk the claim

Is it really conceivable that the entire population of Manhattan (about 1.7 million) could pour out of their apartments and squeeze into 40 blocks of Fifth Avenue?

Yet every year, a government agency issues an official figure that is wildly implausible — make that impossible — and everyone in the media repeats it unquestioningly, when a few moments’ thought would reveal that it makes absolutely no sense.

Again, I stress this simple point: Whenever someone in the media or
government tells you a number, and it seems off, do some simple math
to verify it.

It does not take much to get a simple ratio out of an offered number.
Like a job per tax dollar per year or gallon per mile per ton of
freight or person per foot of parade route.

They count on people's eyes glazing over when they hear a big number,
that's human nature.

A program that "saves" a ten thousand jobs over five years at the cost
of seven billion dollars may sound sensible (or at least not porkis),
but do the math.

$7,000,000,000/(5 years)/(10,000 people) = $140,000 dollars per person
per year. That's the central problem of the "stimulus" it'd be cheaper
to simply cut people checks given the claim of "jobs saved" given the
overall cost.

So not only is the government giving money to cronies in order to buy
their votes but they do it at an exorbitant cost.

There's a reason the Soviet Union had massive famines (only some of
which were deliberately created when they had a higher grain output
than current Russia, which may not be free but they're not starving.

Free markets tend to encourage efficiency by making it profitable, governments do not have that reward structure. In fact since they are monopolies with a captive "customer" base they have less worries about gaining power via better business. In fact, growing government is a means to increase their power, since they can bribe people into voting for them via government jobs and other "redistributive measures.

From Tam here's something related and depressing.

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