One factor in the poor reporting of economics is the innumeracy of many reporters. Most people have trouble getting big numbers straight--distinguishing millions from billions, for example. Unfortunately, so do many reporters, even those who report economic news. Today's New York Times has a glaring instance of innumeracy. In a report on the New York state government's budget and New York's governor David A. Paterson, reporter Jeremy W. Peters writes:
In August, he summoned them back to Albany and persuaded them to agree to $427 billion in cuts.
Of course, he meant $427 million, not $427 billion.