Thursday, April 02, 2015

Do the math. Think of the children!

Having spent most of last week hanging around with 500-odd* editors at the ACES conference, I suppose it's nice to find the local frontpage still turning out classroom-ready material regularly.

There's a reason we teach the difference between "1 percent" and "1 percentage point." They're both correct things you can say about taxes, but they aren't the same correct thing. This proposal would take the sales tax up a point, from 6 to 7 percent, but that's an increase of about 17 percent. Put that way, the already ungainly -- and, it seems, wildly unpopular -- plan loses a few more moving parts.

The Freep, it's worth noting, has supported the proposal. I have no reason to think that has anything to do with the error at hand, but if a caller asks whether we lowballed the tax increase because we're biased or because we're clueless, I'd rather not be in the position of having to say "Clueless, but thanks for asking!"

And yes, "results" in the first clause needs a plural verb. How the poll managed to become a "huge pothole" I don't know, but that's writering, not grammaring or mathing.

* Go on, lose the hyphen You know you want to!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the whole sentence is a teardown. It's trying to say too much all at once, and saying it badly. Better to scrap it and build two or three smaller sentences from scratch, rather than try to repair it.

8:13 AM, April 02, 2015  

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