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Saturday, January 15, 2011

one sixth of the economy

I'll bet that you have heard that "Obamacare is a government takeover of one sixth of the economy!" This is because health care is about one sixth of the economy. I find it curious how infrequently anyone points out that, what with medicare, medicaid, and military healthcare the government has already taken over half of health care. O K, so that's half of that one sixth of the economy which is .... Oh, now I see now why it doesn't get mentioned much. Wait a minute, I know a math guy. Alright, half of one sixth is one twelth of the economy which was already taken over by the government before Obama arrived on the scene.

But that means that the new program can be taking over at most the remaining half, which is also one twelth of the economy!

Obamacare is a government takeover of one twelth of the economny!

Doesn't sound like nearly as big a deal that way, does it?

I guess they don't teach that kind of high powered math in Journalism School.


  1. My math teacher taught me that one sixth is twice as much as one twelfth. So government control in a single sector would double. Sounds bad when you say it that way.

    Two weeks ago I was on a net meeting with a group of professionals across the US and Canada discussing a formula for calculating progress on a project over time (to be included in educational material). When it was pointed out that the formula could produce a result of greater than 100% progress, a seemingly nonsensical result, the moderator simply replied “and what is wrong with being ahead of schedule”. The old axiom that numbers are good only if you understand what they mean should always be in play.

  2. Twice as much does also sound ominous. It also has the advantage of being accurate. But maybe it reminds people that the government involvement in health care is not a new thing.