I’ve seen a couple of posts banging around the interwebs today that claim if we just gave every American a slice of the upcoming Powerball jackpot, everyone would get about $4.33 million and we could dispense with poverty forever. It’s a fun idea, except for the part where the math is utterly wrong.
With a estimated cash payout of about $868 million and about 300 million Americans that works out to $2.89 per person… or enough for everyone to get themselves a extra large coffee from Dunkin Donuts. While I’m not theoretically opposed to the everyone-gets-coffee scheme, I think it’s pretty clear that it’s a long way from “curing” poverty.
It’s a stone fact that for a handful of people in the next few days life is most likely going to take a radical departure from its current trajectory. It’s not going to lead to a chicken in every pot, although that makes for a nice little story on the internet.
Unfortunately it also illustrates nicely why fact checking shouldn’t just be for history majors.