Thursday, October 4, 2012


[Written after the first Romney/Obama debate]

The dangers of mathematical illiteracy: if your opponent wants to cut tax rates in a "revenue neutral" way, and you want to paint him as a tax-raiser, it's useful to understand some math. Just imagine how different it would have seemed if Obama had displayed some policy knowledge. "Okay, you say your rate cuts would be revenue neutral, but with respect to what baseline? Current law or current policy?" Presumably Romney then says, "I would leave revenue unchanged from where it is today." Then Obama would come back and say, "But tax revenues are $300 billion under historical levels because of emergency measures that we've taken to help the economy recover from the Bush recession." [It makes me feel ill even to write "Bush recession", but that's what Obama ought to say because that's how he thinks of it, and how the majority of Americans still think of it.] "You're saying that you're leaving $300 billion dollars a year of your tax cuts unpaid for, $3 trillion over the next decade. That's 60% of your tax cut that isn't paid for? Tell me, how is that responsible?"

The trap is twofold: suck Romney into a wonky discussion of baseline math ("You based your claim that you would 'cut the deficit in half by the end of [your] first time' on emergency spending under Bush! And you didn't even manage it!"), and undermine Romney's credibility.

Because Obama doesn't know any math, he couldn't talk about specifics and couldn't go on the attack. All he could do was repeat, "You have a five trillion dollar tax cut. Somebody told me so. There's a study."

In 2016, the Democrats will nominate somebody from the business world who understands math. The era of nominating Senators from D.C. on the theory that they have "government experience" is drawing to a close.


Hahahahaaaa!!! That is ME laughing at YOU, cruel world.
    -Jordan Rixon

I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.

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