Voters today have to read news stories carefully and do a little math when the media and politicians start throwing big numbers around. Take the Associated Press story that ran nationally on Monday of this week under the headline: “AP exclusive: “Bathroom bill” to cost North Carolina $3.76 billion.”
The reader who just skims headlines thinks, “Wow, no wonder states are starting to be reluctant to pass those bathroom bills. That’s a lot of revenue for a state to lose.” Now lets read the whole article. First of all, the $3.76 billion has not been lost — it is being “projected” to be lost. And guess what? The $3.76 billion is over the next 12 years. And that projection is according to who? An “AP analysis” we’re told. OK, lets rewrite that headline: AP projects “Bathroom Bill” to cost North Carolina $28l million annually.
(How did I come up with the $281 million? Simple. I just asked my smart phone to divide $3.76 billion by 12). But losing $281 million annually from a state economy still seems like a lot of money. Until you read down to the eighth paragraph of the AP story — most readers won’t — and find out that North Carolina has an economy estimated at $500 billion per year, roughly the size of the whole economy of Sweden.
Wow. We go to the smart phone again. “Siri, how much is $281 million divided by $500 billion?” The answer changes everything. The number is .000562. That means, according to the AP analysis itself, that North Carolina is projected to lose 5/10,000th of 1 percent of business because of the bathroom bill — virtually nothing.
Never miss a local story.
And speaking of Sweden, a big Swedish company just announced it was coming to North Carolina and would generate more annual revenue for the state than all the lost sporting events put together. And finally, after its bathroom bill passed, the federal government announced that North Carolina was the nation’s 10th fastest-growing economy. Those little factoids were buried deep in the bowels of the AP article.
So the next time you read that pastor protection laws and bathroom bills will impoverish the state coffers, take a minute to do the math, if you can find it. Oh, and as for the merits of the bathroom bill — here is my opinion. Many states may indeed need a few more gender neutral/handicap bathrooms in public places, but the leftist activists in North Carolina were demanding it of every single business and public bathroom. That’s a huge overreach — a giant waste of taxpayer money and more importantly, a scenario that would likely tempt transgender-pretenders to get at women and girls. Many politicians, businesses, and sports leagues have simply drank the politically correct Kool-Aid on this issue. But you don’t have to. Just do the math.
Rinda Wilson is a resident of Macon.