Pray Your Members of Congress Took Speed Reading Lessons (UPDATED: It's Worse – Oh and Help a Little?)

| February 12, 2009 | 45 Replies

The actual numbers are in the last update, thanks to the Heritage Foundation. Read down to the bottom, but don’t forget to read my post, too!

It is now 7 PM and the Democrats in Congress have yet to give their Republican counterparts a copy of the final Stimulus Bill for them to read. Steny Hoyer says that the House is going to move toward a vote starting at 9 AM tomorrow.

Today’s version of the bill clocks in at 1,434 pages and that’s not the final version. What Congress will likely vote on tomorrow (because President Obama has practically demanded that he sign it on Monday) is likely going to be larger.

There is no chance in the world that any member of Congress is going to be able to read the bill by morning unless they are a trained speed reader. Even then, they’re not going to know the full ramifications of what the bill contains. I’ll do some back of the envelope calculations to prove it.

Let’s start with two generous assumptions: that the bill remains at 1,434 pages, and it gets in the hands of your member of Congress at 8 PM. Let’s also assume that there are about 350 words on each page

In order for anyone to read the entire bill in 13 hours, they’d have to start the very minute they got it and read over 1.8 pages a minute every minute, without a break. They’ll be clocking in at a reading speed of 640.5 words per minute at that rate. If anyone needs a potty break, they’d better take the bill with them. Forget eating.

By comparison, the average human reads about 200-400 wpm if “reading for comprehension”. You only hit 640 wpm if you’re skimming the text (and the top end average skimming rate is 700 wpm and the comprehension rate drops dramatically).

Now, let’s get a little sample of what they’ll be reading at that eye-melting rate of speed.

Here’s a sample page from the original Stimulus Bill, HR1.



Okay, did you get all that? Including the bit about “sections 306 and 310B and described in sections 381E(d)(1), 381E(d)(2), and 381E(d)(3) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act”?

Do you know what those sections are and what they do and do not allow? Have you even read the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act? Remember, you have no time to look them up. You have another three-quarters of a page to read before your minute is up. And after that, you have 997 pages left to go. Hustle it up — 9 A.M. comes awfully early!

Oh, and so you know, that little section you just breezed through in 30 seconds is going to cost the American taxpayers almost 6 billion dollars.

Just know, as you’re at work tomorrow, that the Democrats will be voting to spend about $800 billion dollars without having the foggiest idea what they’ll be spending it all on. Oh, to be sure, they know how much money they’ll spend on their little pet projects but that’s it. They are taking on faith that throwing all that money at our economy is going to be good for us, even though they have no good idea where all the money is going to land.

Supporters of this bill have said that they have to “do something” fast. Well, that’s exactly what they’re going to do – “something”. I suggest that we stop them from passing this bill until they can at least tell us exactly what that “something” is.

UPDATE: Linked by Sister Toldjah who, by the way, is ever bit as beautiful as she is smart!

UPDATE 2: Linked by Jim Manzi (one of my very favorite people at National Review) and Paula (a very thoughtful new blogger you should get to know). Thank you both! And welcome to everyone from The Corner. Spend some time looking around. I get into all sorts of shenanigans around here, most of which I’m betting you’ll like.

UPDATE 3: Linked by Instapundit and The Anchoress. A Cornerlanche, an Instalanche, with an Anchoress kicker in the same day is a first here. Also, Mark Noonan links from Blogs for Victory. Thank you all!

Well, folks, once you’re done with this post, there’s more about the President Who Can’t Appoint a Nominee, a chance to see just how long a Presidential promise lasts, and a chance to kick around Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Harry Reid.

And if you’ve a few bucks you want to spend, feel free to do it from here through any of the Amazon links.

UPDATE 4: The Foundry has the final numbers. Congress got the final language at 11 PM last night and the bill was 1,419 pages long. That’s 2.6 pages a minute for nine hours or, using the 350 words per page assumption, 910 wpm (faster than skimming and approaching the top end of what most normal speed readers can do).

UPDATE 5: Did I mention I’m going to CPAC this year for the first time, ever? I am and I’m excited. But I’d not mind some help. I want to take video and photos and post them from the events but my laptop (an iBook G3) can’t handle the load. I need to replace it and it’s going to cost a few hundred bucks I just don’t have. I’ll appreciate any donations to the cause y’all feel like making. the good news is that if 20 of you donate $50, that gets me an excellent used Mac and handles shipping, too. So, help a blogger out.

UPDATE 6: Linked by Glenn Beck?! Well that was unexpected. When you read the transcript or listen to that section of the show, he’s using my speed reading number and the section of the bill I used. He’s also asking the same question I asked about comprehension. Thank you, Mr. Beck!

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Category: The Economy and Your Money

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