Don't Sabotage Your Business with Bad Data

In April 2009, the bailout was going to cost U.S. taxpayers $356 billion, according to congressional budget analysts. A year later that figure was revised down to $89 billion. When the health-care reform bill was being debated, some put the cost at more than a trillion dollars, while others indicated it would actually reduce the deficit. About a month ago, the European Commission reported that Greece's public-sector deficit for 2009 was 13.6 percent of GDP, significantly higher than the 12.7 percent the Greek government had previously estimated. Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou was quoted as saying the revision "may spark fresh market concerns." Kind of an understatement. Since then, stock markets have fluctuated wildly and the euro dropped to a 14-month low as European nations increased their bailout from $139 billion to nearly $1 trillion.

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