Math Fun at the Washington Post

A graphic at the Washington Post show the amount of money spent on “pork-barrel” projects over the past 10 years. The graphic is captioned as:

The amount of money spent on pork barrel projects — special state or local projects tacked onto federal legislation — has almost tripled (emphasis mine) […]

Except, the numbers in the figure show an increase from $29.1 billion to $52.7 billion. That’s not even double, much nearly triple! It’s only 81%! Of course, it’s probable that the caption writer intended to describe the lower part of the graph which shows the number of projects, rather than the total amount. In that case, the value has increased from 4,155 to 14,211 in 10 years, which is 242%.

So the WaPo is either guilty of mathematical illiteracy or or just plain botched the caption. You decide…