GO FIGURE: Fed budget bill comes to $3M per word

SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Talk about words more costly than gold.

The giant federal budget bill that Congress passed late Thursday will cost taxpayers nearly $3 million per word, or if you want to really think big, almost $700 million per page.

The bill authorizes $1.1 trillion in spending. It is 1,582 pages long. An Internet word counting program said it has 370,445 words, numbers and symbols. So simple math comes up with $2.9 million per word average and $695 million per page average, though different parts of the budget package spend more than others sections.

By comparison, there are only 4,543 words in the U.S. Constitution, before amendments, and 1,458 words in the Declaration of Independence.

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington spending watchdog, figured that senators spent slightly more than 69 hours before passing the bill, giving them just under two minutes per page to read it.

And this story is only 162 words. At $2.9 million per word that comes to $470 million. A bargain.

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Go Figure, an occasional feature from The Associated Press, explores the news through numbers and what they mean

Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears