National Edition

New federal budget bill costs $3 million per word

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22 2014 7:30 a.m. MST

President Barack Obama signs the $1.1 trillion spending bill that funds the federal government through the end of September, in Washington, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 at Jackson Place, a conference center near the White House. Obama signed the measure the day before federal funding was set to run out.

Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

Seth Borenstein at The Associated Press crunched some different numbers about the new Federal Budget signed on Friday by President Barack Obama. The $1.1 trillion in spending is authorized by a bill that is 1,582 pages long and 370,445 words, numbers and symbols.

"So simple math comes up with $2.9 million per word average and $695 million per page average," Borenstein says, "though different parts of the budget package spend more than others sections."

A more concerning aspect of the bill's passage comes from how much time the senators spent on it.

"Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington spending watchdog, figured that senators spent slightly more than 69 hours before passing the bill," Borenstein says, "giving them just under two minutes per page to read it."

Borenstein couldn't resist applying the $2.9 million-a-word cost to his own 162-word AP story.

"At $2.9 million per word that comes to $470 million," he says. "A bargain."

Applying that cost to other documents has other interesting results.

"War and Peace," at that price per each of its 587,287 words, would cost $1.7 trillion.

"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand would cost $1.9 trillion.

The Gettysburg Address is a steal at only $783 million.

The conservative CNS news reports that while the original Affordable Healthcare Act was 381,517 words, regulations related to Obamacare come in at 11,588,500 words. That would be, using the tongue-in-cheek $2.9 million-per-word cost to taxpayers measure, $1.1 trillion for the act and $33.6 trillion for the regulations.

If only it were really that easy to figure out the cost of laws.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com Twitter: @degroote Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote

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