I recently watched a TV commercial that denounced Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud for wanting to spend $1 million to aid “illegal immigrants.”

Oh, my God – 1 million dollars! Balderdash! This was the most egregious example of numerical manipulation that I have seen in many years.

Does anyone who watched this commercial know just how insignificant this amount of money is? The Maine state budget for 2013 was $7.998 billion (yes, billion). Of that, $1 million represents 0.000125 percent. That’s 1.25 ten-thousandths of 1 percent, or 1/8,000th of the state budget.

It is an abomination that political ad writers play on the mathematical illiteracy of too many people to produce such ads. If ever we needed “truth police” for political advertising, it is now. Let’s stop these ads that play to deceit by exaggeration and start telling the truth about numbers.

Larry Ryan


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