Jun 07 2006

Laura Igraham; Math Ditz

Published by at 7:50 pm under All General Discussions,Illegal Immigration

Numbers in the hands (or in this case mouths) of the math challenged can be as explosive as mis-handling nitroglycerin (and as self destructive). This morning while driving I heard Laura Ingraham do a classic impression of a hysteric Chicken Little when she claimed the Senate Bill would cause 100 million immigrants to invade the US in the next ten years. Sadly, she was serious.

I thought she would save herself further embarrassment when she noted the total population of the US was 270 million (its actually up to 300 million but who is quibbling). But the math challenged would not see the obvious idiocy between a population of 300 Million and claiming there would be an influx of 100 million people over a guest worker program!

I am guessing that fishing hook in Laura’s math-challenged mouth is from Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation – who also is not the brightest math bulb on the block apparently.

Folks, let’s start with the population of the US of A at 300 million. Does ANYONE think all 300 million work (besides Laura and Rector)? No, of course not. Between kids and the retiring Boomers the work force is much smaller. In fact, in 2005 the total US Labor Force was 150 million people (employed and unemployed – see table)

So, outside Laura and Rector, anyone would see the number one problem with the idea the a guest worker program, which requires the ‘guest worker’ to have a job, and the 100 million immigrants Laura claimed. Sorry to say this Laura, but 2+2 does not equal 100.

The US economy grows around 3-4% a year in years with an expanding economy. No guest worker program can ingest 100 million immigrants (as well as US graduating HS and College kids) over ten years. This is why Ingraham is a blatant math ditz. She is trying to pack 100 1bs of hyperventilating BS into a 1 lb bag. Yes, those ratios are accurate. Less than 1 million a year immigrant workers is about all we can ingest into our economy.

I cannot tell you how embarrassingly stupid this all looks to someone who knows math well beyond the average person. But this is simple fractions/percentages. This is 6th grade math. This is why our education system bites. No one should have taken the announcement that a guest worker program would cause 100 million immigrants anymore seriously than someone claiming the earth is flat. Both statements are fanciful and they defy reality.

Don’t play with numbers if you can’t support them yourself and with confidence. You will only look foolish when someone calls on you to defend them. And if it sounds unbelievable… it probably is.

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Laura Igraham; Math Ditz”

  1. Terrye says:

    Big Lizards did a very detailed post on the numbers recently and he made note of the fact that Rector had changed his numbers, brought them down. In fact the post made note of the different numbers cited by different people. Like you he brought up things like math and common sense.

    I used to think that only the left employed deliberate lies, hysterical claims and fantasy to get their way. Seems I was wrong.

    BTW, the entire population of Mexico is about 106 million. Of course not all the immigrants are Mexican but it does kind of help put the numbers in some perspective.

  2. For Enforcement says:

    I just can’t believe this. First I’ll agree that Laura is exaggerating, but would someone kindly tell just what is the significance of the difference between 66 million and 100 million. For all of you that think Laura is just pulling numbers out of thin air, I’m gonna say that you are pulling your numbers out of your a*s. You are jumping all over her while claiming you have some special insight.

    “(its actually up to 300 million but who is quibbling). ” No it’s not, but who’s quibbling.
    According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the United States, projected to 06/08/06 at 02:39 GMT (EST+5) is 298,924,758

    “No guest worker program can ingest 100 million immigrants ” If you believe that, now you understand why so many of us are so concerned about the 60+ million we will be getting from the proposed Senate Bill, that actually has no limitations.

    ” which requires the ‘guest worker’ to have a job,” Since when? Show me any statute that requires this? I’ll absolutely guarantee you that in less than 30 minutes I can show you at least 3 provisions in the guest worker program that actually exempt you from having to “actually” have a job. I’ll go ahead and start with a few, and believe me these are true. 1.. If you are under 16 2. If you are the spouse of a guest worker. 3. You are over 65 years of age 4 You are mentally incompetent
    I could list several more, but do I make my point? It just goes to show that some people that think Laura is a ditz are just plain ignorant of the facts. Yes , she may stretch her numbers to make a point, but there are some that stretch their facts to make a point also. AJ, Terrye, sound familiar?

    “but 2+2 does not equal 100.” And in the case of illegal immigrants it rarely adds up to 4 either, more like 12 to 15.

    “I cannot tell you how embarrassingly stupid this all looks to someone who knows math well beyond the average person. ”

    And I can’t tell you how embarrassingly stupid your argument makes you look. Damn if I would jump onto a case, of which I was so stunningly ignorant of the facts, and call someone else stupid.

    I admire your arguments on a lot of the situations you comment on but I really believe you need to stay away from trying to argue the illegal immigrants cases for them. You obviously are passionately wrong in your understanding and it appears that no amount of reasoning is ever going to reach your comprehension.

    I accept the fact that I may also be wrong on the illegal immigrant situation, but when you take the situation with Laura and jump all over her case, accuse her of being a ditz when it is actually you that appears to not have a clue, Literally, not have a clue.

  3. MerryJ1 says:

    If, as Terrye states, the population of Mexico is about 106 million (I have no independent clue), then it’s doubtful that 100 million of that 106 million will be leaving their homeland. Hafta figure more than 6 mil of the total have jobs in the Mexican government, no?

    Seriously, if the population of Mexico is at or near the 100 mil mark, any of the high guesstimates (100 million, 60 million, 30 million, etc.) are unrealistic, as far as illegals from Mexico.

    That doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem, though. I personally oppose any provision, including some current practices, that give government (i.e., taxpayer) benefits of any kind to illegals. That includes federal EIC (earned income credit) payments, and any Social Security or SSI, even if there were SS withholdings under a phoney SS number.

    I do not oppose, and would donate to, private charitable provisions — churches, Salvation Army, Red Cross, other organizations — that have or create funding for medical, temporary food or housing assistance or other help. PRIVATE charitable organizations.

    Has no one else noticed that the “illegal alian” problem, and the decades-long adamant refusal to meaningfully address it, has been serving as a back door to creeping, institutionalized Socialism? Haven’t noticed? Spend a few hours sitting in a Social Security office observing the SS applicants for various benefits. Bring a translator if you only understand English.

  4. crosspatch says:

    There won’t be 66 million either. The numbers that are being bandied about are theoretical maximum possible numbers, not the numbers that would actually be authorized to enter. Some people can take things to idiotic extremes in order to block progress.

    What is the maximum possible number of Impalas that General Motors can produce? What is the number that will actually be produced? In the first instance you are talking about converting every single plant to Impala production. In the second instance we are talking about responding to market conditions.

    People are looking at the maximum number that could possibly be allowed and jumping to the conclusion that the government would actually allow that number. That is as silly as GM converting every single plant to Impala production.

    But people create scenarios like that in order to scare people into getting in line with their political vision. It is silly, no, it is dumb.

  5. jwm4 says:

    I second the comment by For Enforcement. You are completely off base regarding the facts of the immigration legislation. Do your homework if you want to be taken seriously with respect to this subject matter.

    And pay attention to details like the mentally retarded exemption. Earlier this week in an Atlanta aprtment complex known to primarily house illegal aliens, a “Honduran” (the Atlanta Journal-Constituion would never tell you he was illegal) man known to be mentally retarded planted an ax in the face of a 9 year old, killing him. When a policeman attempted to question him, he threw a tire at him and broke his arm. He continued to attack the policeman, who finally shot and killed the man.

    Apartment complexes in this area of Atlanta are filled to the brim with illegal aliens. Crime in the neighborhood has increased in direct proportion to the dramatic influx of illegals into these apartment buildings over the last ten years. Single bedroom aprtments in these complexes rent for $800 plus/month, which is high for many young professionals. So how do the illegals afford it? They will have 2 or 3 families living together in a single apartment. This entire population of people live in complete defiance of our laws from their first step into the country. They break the laws when they accept jobs. They even break the laws when they sleep. They are improverished when they arrive here, so when it comes time to pay the rent, if they don’t have the money, they have to rob someone. It happens every week in our neighborhood. Our neighborhood is sick of it. Too many people are romanticizing immigration for ideological reasons, or rationalizing it for economic reasons. Far too few bother to really look “under the hood” and look at the hard factual consequences of allowing even the current illegal alien population of 10-15 million people to: 1) come here illegally; 2) work here illegally; 3) house themselves illegally; and 4) do whatever it takes, even if illegal, to survive.

    That said, I have found your WOT and related posts to be insightful and well thought out.

    Just my two cents worth.

  6. Karig says:

    Whoa. For Enforcement sounds PISSED. Musta hit a nerve. 🙂

    Seriously, I’m not buying the “100 (or 66) million immigrants in ten years” scenario either. Where the hell are they all going to come from? As AJ pointed out, Mexico’s population right now is only about 109 million. Assuming that Mexico’s population could be projected to be 125 million in ten years (were immigration from Mexico to stop cold today), then 100 million people emigrating from Mexico would leave Mexico itself with only 20% of its former population. Somehow I don’t see anything like that happening without some gigantic disaster striking Mexico and making life almost impossible there.

    And wasn’t the current estimate for our present illegal-immigration population supposed to be around twelve million? And President Reagan provided amnesty to the then-existing illegal-immigrant population twenty years ago. So we’re supposed to believe that, thanks to Presidente Jorge Arbusto and the Senate, the illegal-immigrant population growth is suddenly supposed to rise at least sixteen times faster over the next ten years? Nope. Sorry.

  7. AJStrata says:

    Obviously if you read my site criminal acts (even by the mentally challenged) means immediate deportation and no second chance. It is the one thing the Senate should have put in the Bill. It is the one thing the House should put in the Bill. There are plenty of real crimes committed by immigrants that, in my mind, easily call for deportation. Lack of a green card is not one of them. Lack of a green card means the crime is working for a living without permission.

    I do understand the issue completely. Whenever someone selects a single example of a real crime my answer is always the same. But to be fair, you cannot judge a people by their criminal element. That would mean I could judge you in light of Jeffrey Dahmer.

    You want to deport immigrants who commit real crimes – I am all for it. And so is everyone but bleeding heart liberals.

  8. retire05 says:

    Estimating that the population of Mexico is around 106 million, a recent survey in Mexico (done by Pew Hispanic Center, I believe) states that 40% of the Mexican population want to come to the United States, legally, or illegally. That would be a migration of 42 million people, just from one nation. Now take the fact that S.B. 2611 will allow those granted amnesty to bring in their immediate family members (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, spouses and children) legally and without medical examinations, if each illegal had just two family members (mother and father, spouse and one child, one parent and one sibling) you can do the math. 12 x 2=24. 24 million people will immediately become eligible to enter the U. S. legally.
    It is possible that the population of Mexico could legally be reduced by 50% in the next 10 years or less.
    What will happen then? As Mexico exports it’s poor, undereducated peons, the labor force is then reduced and so Mexico, as is happening
    now, will import Central Americans whose average pay is $3.50 a day, much less than Mexican workers earn. The gap between the very wealthy and the very poor will continue to grow, the corruption in Mexico will continue to grow. Let is not forget that Vicente Fox, himself, believes in the “reconquest” of the U.S. southwest.
    AJ says that no one should be punished for coming for a job; but according to Pew Hispanic Center, 95% of all Mexican illegals had a job in Mexico when they left for the United States. Pew also reported that in a survey of almost 5,000 Mexicans, almost all believed that the southwest part of the U.S. belonged to Mexico and that the U.S. should have no right to keep them out. And while AJ reduces their crime of violating American federal laws to a lack of “paper work” , he wants them to abide by neighborhood by-laws and not overcrowd residences in his neighborhood.
    Perhaps AJ suscribes to the philosophy of one man I met in Pennslyvania who said to me “why don’t you keep the illegals in Texas where they belong”.
    Funny that it is only a case of “lack of paper work” until they move into your neighborhood.

  9. az redneck says:

    AJ: Agree completely on the numbers. They are hysterical (not in a funny way). You have also dealt with the criminality issue in an appropriate way.
    You fail, as do most others, to acknowledge jwm4’s other issues, however. The elephant in the room is the rapid deterioration of the ability of our social systems to deal with the large influx of poverty-
    stricken population.
    You have previously stated that you live at the center of the debate. Imagine the conditions here in Phoenix at the center of the INVASION. Take the situation in Atlanta that jwm4 describes and multiply by the number of people streaming across our border. Is it any wonder that the little old ladies in tennis shoes are afraid? Hell, I’m afraid–of the collapse of our systems like schools, hospitals, jails, and other institutions which deal with the problems on a daily basis.
    Lest you think that I am a heartless ‘redneck’, Google the Wilson 4. These were my kids before I retired. No one cares more about these kids and their families being treated fairly than I. How can you take a kid in the states from age 3 through high school and not be emotionally involved in their future?
    In 1990 these kids were judged by the Az Dept of Education to be the absolutely most at-risk population in Az. Their older siblings were dropping out of the 9th grade at an 85% rate. In 2000, they were not only graduating from high school, but had EARNED scholarships to a variety of colleges and universities only to be told they would now be deported to Mexico–a country in which they had practically no stake! No one has any idea of how much effort we had to put into the process to achieve those results, only to be rebuffed by the courts.
    So yeah, we must find ways to fairly deal with current illegals, but we absolutely must get the border closed as the first priority. But do we owe them retroactively for EIC or social security? Let’s not forget the additional assistance we gave them to get where they are–the strain on our social systems over the past 20 years.
    McCain of all people should know better! I hope that AJ will start to acknowlege some of these problems and issues as the debate continues.

  10. AJStrata says:


    Put your thinking cap on. If there is a guest worker program where (a) you have to be registerd and (b) you have to have a job and (c) you have to pay taxes then what do you think happens to those who don’t work or don’t pay their fair share of local taxes?

    And if I recall correctly, the answer from the hard liners was our way or we allow liberals to get elected. Somehow I get the feeling you are not totally sincere in your positions. Because if poverty was your last stand issue (which it seems to be) then the last thing you would want is Bush to fail and either nothing be done or liberals take control.

    There are solutions to a myriad of issues in the comprehensive Bill. That is why it is better than the House garbage – it does something real.

  11. az redneck says:

    AJ: You are both right and wrong. Yes, poverty is a bottom line issue for me, and the last thing I want is for Bush to fail and for liberals to take control.
    As I recall, you have, on several occasions over the last several weeks, stated that YOU have had it with some of our Republican legislators. The thought that you would back away and let liberals take over has horrified me! I will never again vote Democratic because I recognize that even Specter, Chaffee, et.al. give some degree of control to Republicans in Congress regardless of how frustrated I get with some of their positions.
    At the same time, one of my greatest fears is that we are headed for a repeat of the 1980s, where a LACK OF ENFORCEMENT has put us in the difficult position that we are in. I freely admit that I have not read the bills, but I have watched the Senate on CSpan frequently. What I hear gives me great concern that nothing will be done because the Senate is trying to do too much, while the House is the opposite.
    When it gets to the point that it did last week where McCain et.al. want to grant EIC and social security benefits RETROACTIVELY, then I start to get real nervous.
    When I am more sure that we are not creating Great Society Phase II for immigrants, then you and I will be much closer to agreement.

  12. For Enforcement says:

    AJ said to AZ:
    Put your thinking cap on. If there is a guest worker program where (a) you have to be registerd and (b) you have to have a job and (c) you have to pay taxes then what do you think happens to those who don’t work or don’t pay their fair share of local taxes?

    b) you have to have a job and (c) you have to pay taxes

    what do you think happens to those who don’t work or don’t pay their fair share of local taxes?

    Again, I’m missing something here. How can you “have to have a job” and not have a job?
    how can you “have to pay taxes’ and not pay taxes?
    Whoops, I think maybe some “exemptions” may be slipping in here. Those millions and millions that “are not included in the guest worker programs” but do make up the illegal immigrant population.

    “What I hear gives me great concern that nothing will be done because the Senate is trying to do too much,”

    Oh contrare: that is AJ’s point, but in fact they are trying to do only one thing, give unconditional AMNESTY FOR ALL. They are trying to package it differently, but it’s a duck. (you know, if it walks like a duck)

    And if I’m wrong on this, what I meant to say was “Amen”

  13. AJStrata says:


    I am not the one threatening to stay home in a temper of the Senate Bill gets passed. And Bush has said a veto is coming to the House Bill. Give up on the amnesy cries, that chicken little cry is meaningless. Either the Senate Bill passes with some needed barriers for criminals or everything stays as is until the next Republican President.

    Those are all the choices left now. You need to face reality.

  14. For Enforcement says:

    And Bush has said a veto is coming to the House Bill.

    He doesn’t know what the word Veto means

  15. az redneck says:

    AJ: Take a deep breath. If you look back over all of the posts I have ever made, I have never threatened to stay home if I don’t get my own way nor have I ever used the word amnesty.
    There is room for more compromise in the Senate bill beyond criminal activity. I don’t favor large fines or long lines for citizenship.
    If a person and his family has been here earning an otherwise legal living, I favor putting them on an immediate path for citizenship.
    My point is that we need to slow the flow until we can deal with those already here. And that includes teaching thru our ‘lousy’ educational system both kids and parents that life in this country can be very good depending on individual effort–which was our thrust at my school. I hear our Senate, however, laying the groundwork for an expansion of the welfare state.
    On the fiscal side, I am a very strong supporter of lower taxes, smaller government and less government involvement in our lives. I don’t see or hear much of that in our Senate today whether it is about ‘bridges to nowhere’, movement of railroads or much of the current immigration bill. I will continue to object until I do.
    And I assure you that my positions are ‘sincere’ even if they diverge from yours (only occasionally, I might note!)
    May be that You might even find a few other areas of compromise???