Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Innumeracy in the Recall Election

A recent Schwarzenegger campaign commercial charges that Gray Davis “Increased Car Tax 300%.” The L.A. Times’s “Ad Watch,” which evaluates the validity of statements made in campaign ads, deemed the figure (if not the blame) accurate: “The car tax was in fact tripled, though Davis maintains the increase was required by a law passed under former Gov. Pete Wilson…” But if the tax was indeed tripled, then Schwarzenegger’s figure is flat wrong: a tripling of the tax constitutes a 200% increase, not a 300% increase.

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