Numbers, Schmumbers, 9 Percent Is About Half, Isn’t It?

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Here is Mitt Romney last night, criticizing the green energy loan guarantee program that was part of the stimulus bill:

You put $90 billion into green jobs…And these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, I think about half of them, of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business.

Close! The DOE 1705 program has approved 33 loans worth about $16 billion. So far there have been three failures (Solyndra, Beacon, and Abound), which works out to a failure rate of…

Nine percent.

By dollar volume, these loans will cost a maximum of about $600 million if the government ends up on the hook for the entire loan amount. That comes to maybe 4 percent of the total. By other measures, the failure rate is less than 1 percent.

Still, close enough for a national debate, I guess! Michael Grunwald tweets that Romney’s people later told him that “Mitt didn’t mean to say half the stimulus-funded green firms failed.” So I wonder what he did mean to say?

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