The Spectre of Math

October 2, 2009

Boehner doesn’t meet his constituents (mathematical proof)

Filed under: Mathematics,Politics — jlebl @ 6:02 pm

Yesterday I saw Boehner on TV saying something like “not a single person outside of congress and government has come up to me and told me they want the public option.”

So what does that mean. Given that polls consistently show at least 50% support for the public option, let’s take 50% as a conservative estimate. Let’s suppose that Beohner would have met 10 random constituents (I would hope that a good representative would meet and talk to more than 10 people he is representing about the main issue of the year). The probability that all 10 of them are against the public option is 0.1%, that is 1 in 1000.

So the probability that Boehner met 10 constituents (and not just 10 of his own supporters) is 0.1%. In fact the expected number of constituents he met is 1. Ohio’s 8th district has population greater than 1. That he met a 100 constituents, the probability is on the order of 10^{-29} percent. Suppose that there are 1 million lottery tickets sold. I have better chance of winning the jackpot 5 times in a row, than that Boehner talked to 100 constituents.

I can see someone objecting: But the support is not 50% if you ask the right question (I’ll leave the fallacies of that argument aside). Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that only 20% of people support the public option. That is waaaaay below what even the most conservative of pollsters give. I mean there are more liberal democrats in the country than 20%, and I’d assume they would want far more than just a public option. Still, even with those unrealistic odds, with probability greater than 50%, Boehner met at most 4 of his constituents. The probability that he met 100 constituents is on the order of 10^{-8} percent. I still have way better odds of winning the lottery by several orders of magnitude. That would be like winning the lottery if 100 million tickets were sold.

What is the conclusion: With almost concrete certainty, I can conclude that Boehner is either 1) lying, or 2) does not meet many constituents. In fact, with better than 90% certainty, Boehner met less than actual 4 constituents about heathcare. Meeting only with people that support your opinion is NOT meeting with your constituents.


1 Comment »

  1. Rockefeller and Schumer YOUR FANTASTIC! 🙂

    ATTENTION!! Congress Has The Votes Needed To Pass A Public Option – TODAY

    Why A Strong Public Option Is Essential – By jacksmith – Working Class

    Robert Reich explains the pubic option:

    Hollywood Supports The Public Option 🙂

    It’s not just because more than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

    It’s not just because according to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!

    It’s not just because it will lower cost. Because a strong public option will dramatically lower cost for everyone. And dramatically improved the quality of care everyone receives in America and around the World. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    It’s not just because it will save trillions of dollars and prevent the needless deaths of millions more of YOU, caused by a rush to profit by the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    It’s not just because every expert in every field, including economist, and Nobel laureates all agree that free market based healthcare systems don’t work. Never have and never will. The US has the only truly free market based healthcare system in the World. And as you all know now, IT IS A DISASTER!

    It’s not just because providing or denying medically necessary care for profit motivations is wrong. Because it is WRONG! It’s professionally, ethically, and morally REPUGNANT!, Animalistic, VILE and EVIL.


    The public option is ESSENTIAL because over 200 million of you are trapped in the forest of the wolves. Which is the forest of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! With no way out except through needless inhumane suffering, and DEATH. While the wolves tear at your flesh, and rip you limb from lib. Then feast on your lifeless bodies like a dead carcase for transplant parts.

    At the most vulnerable times of your lives (when you were sick and hurting), millions of you have had to fight and loose cruel, but heroic battles. Fighting against the big guns of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! in the forest of the wolves. All because you have no place else to go. You have no other CHOICE!

    But the PUBLIC OPTION will give you someplace safe to go. And it will give us someplace safe to take you. The public option will be your refugium (your refuge). Where the wolves cannot get at you when your down, hurting, and vulnerable. Where everyone who needs it can find rest, security, comfort and the care they need. Protected by the BIG GUNS of We The People Of The United States. THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY ON EARTH.

    This is why it is so critical that we do not lead another 50 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans into the forest of the wolves, without the protections of a Strong Government-run MEDICARE like public option. We The People Of The United States MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN to any more of our fellow Americans. If healthcare reform does not contain a strong MEDICARE like public option on day one. YOU MUST! KILL IT. Or you will do far more harm than good. And millions more will die needlessly. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    To those who would continue to obstruct good and true healthcare reform for the American people, and who seek to trap millions more vulnerable Americans in the forest of the wolves. We will continue to fight you. We are prepared to wage all out war against you, and will eagerly DESTROY! you. Time…is…UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! No Co-op’s! No Triggers! NO INDIVIDUAL MANDATES! without a Strong MEDICARE like public option on day one.

    Healthcare reform can be the GREATEST! Accomplishment of our time and century. A time when future generations may say of us, that we were all, AMERICAS GREATEST GENERATIONS.


    I therefore call on all my fellow Americans and the peoples of the World. To join us in this fight so that we may finish becoming the better America that we aspire to be for everyone.


    I have been privileged to be witness as many of you fought, and struggled to take your first breath, and your last breath on this earth. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Life is precious.

    Whatever the cost. WE! MUST SUCCEED.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith – Working Class

    Things You Can Do To Help NOW!

    No Triggers!


    Krugman on heathcare (

    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

    John Garamendi on the Public Option and the Grassroots:

    Howard Dean on the Public Option

    We’re Number 37! in quality of health care

    Twitter search (#welovethenhs #NHS #hc09 #hcr #healthcar #obama #p2 #topprog #) Check it out.

    Comment by jacksmith — October 3, 2009 @ 1:21 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: