The math really isn’t that hard

Perhaps you heard Paul Ryan’s interview on Sunday where he asserted that he really could not explain the math behind Romney’s budget because it would take too long.

Of course, it would take a really long time to somehow explain the 2+2=5 that is Romney’s budget.  Of course, if you want to explain what’s actually going on, that’s what liberal bloggers are for.  Drum:

Catherine Rampell provides the simple, nickel version of why the Romney/Ryan tax plan is mathematically impossible:

As the Tax Policy Center demonstrated, cutting individual income tax rates by 20 percent from today’s levels would reduce tax burdens by $251 billion per year (in 2015) among households with income above $200,000.

If you leave preferential tax rates for savings and investing (e.g., long-term capital gains and dividends) untouched, as Mr. Romney has said he would do, that leaves only $165 billion of available tax
expenditures that can be eliminated from this same group of high-income earners once their marginal tax rates fall.

In other words, even if youcompletely eliminated all tax deductions for high earners — the mortgage interest deduction, the charitable deduction, the exclusion of healthcare benefits, etc. — it still wouldn’t make up for the 20% rate cut Romney wants to give them. Their total tax bill would go down. However, Romney has also said that his total tax plan is revenue neutral, which means that someone else’s tax bill has to go up to make up for the tax cuts he’s giving to the rich. But Romney says that won’t happen either. Middle-class taxes, on net, will stay the same. In other words:

-$251 + $165 + 0 = 0

Ezra goes through the math, too, but you don’t need that again.  I love this commentary:

And, of course, if they were worried that “Fox News Sunday” wouldn’t give them the time necessary to explain the math, they could publish a detailed explanation on their Web site, or Ryan could record a three-hour YouTube video walking viewers through the numbers.

But they’re not going to do that, because the problem isn’t that the math on their plan takes too long to detail. It’s that the math on their plan can’t be done. Or, it can be done, but when you do it, you get answers the Romney campaign doesn’t like — for instance, that the tax plan will either raise taxes on the middle class or add to the deficit.

Whenever they brush against the specifics of it, that becomes very clear, very quickly. And so Ryan pretends that the policy is too complicated for the country to understand, when in fact it’s too flawed for him to explain.


The Republican cult?

Sometimes the best things I read on-line come from my commenters (it doesn’t hurt when they have a PhD in Political Science from a fine university).  Anyway, in response to my post about Republicans not believing the polls, I got this from Mike in Chapel Hill:

The worst part of this is that it is further evidence of GOP’s destruction of trust in democracy. They are not content with calling political opponent enemies and traitors, they are now chipping away at trust in the electoral process itself. The Republican party is telling its followers that political opponents are stealing elections through fraud (a false charge) and they are telling partisan to mistrust any source of information that undermines the GOP’s talking points. In short, today’s Republican party is morphing into a cult. It has many traits found in cults: opposition to dissent; claims to divine (or special) knowledge; demonize opponents; manufacture external threats and conspiracies to strengthen internal discipline; manufacture persecution from outside forces; information is accepted, and knowledge is acquired, only through approved sources (and, kill the messenger if you don’t like the message). At this rate it won’t be long before non-trivial parts of the GOP will refuse to accept the legitimacy of election results.

Hard to argue with these points.

PA Voter ID

A Pennsylvania court struck down the implementation of their very problematic Voter ID law until after the election.  Kevin Drum’s commentary is spot on:

Honestly, this is a reasonable decision regardless of what you think about photo ID laws in general. Pennsylvania’s law was simply passed too late to be implemented in any kind of fair and equitable way. At a bare minimum, you need time to make sure people know about the law, time to staff up DMV offices to process new ID cards, and time for independent groups to start up community drives to make sure everybody who wants one can get an ID. This is just common sense.

Unless, of course, your goal is just the opposite: to make sure that lots of people who want to vote aren’t going to be able to. But that’s not anyone’s goal, is it?  [emphasis mine]

Obama is winning because he’s Black?!

What?  That’s the gist of George Will’s column today:

Obama’s administration is in shambles, yet he is prospering politically. This may not, however, entirely be evidence of the irrationality of the electorate. Something more benign may be at work.

A significant date in the nation’s civil rights progress involved an African American baseball player named Robinson, but not Jackie. The date was Oct. 3, 1974, when Frank Robinson, one the greatest players in history, was hired by the Cleveland Indians as the major leagues’ first black manager. But an even more important milestone of progress occurred June 19, 1977, when the Indians fired him. That was colorblind equality.

Managers get fired all the time. The fact that the Indians felt free to fire Robinson — who went on to have a distinguished career managing four other teams — showed that another racial barrier had fallen: Henceforth, African Americans, too, could enjoy the God-given right to be scapegoats for impatient team owners or incompetent team executives.

Perhaps a pleasant paradox defines this political season: That Obama is African American may be important, but in a way quite unlike that darkly suggested by, for example, MSNBC’s excitable boys and girls who, with their (at most) one-track minds and exquisitely sensitive olfactory receptors, sniff racism in any criticism of their pin-up. Instead, the nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure — thereby admitting that it made a mistake in choosing him — seems especially reluctant to give up on the first African American president. If so, the 2012 election speaks well of the nation’s heart, if not its head.

Just wow.  Man, the things conservatives will tell themselves to explain the current polling are just increasingly delusional.

Photo of the day

Well, you know there will be some dramatic photos in a set entitled “Hurricanes and Typhoons” (via Big Picture):

A Chinese fisherman from a stranded fishing boat is saved as South Korean policemen rescue him and other fishermen in Seogwipo on Jeju Island, south of Seoul August 28, 2012. Typhoon Bolaven, with winds of up to 106 mph, buffeted South Korea’s west coast, killing five people at sea and leaving 10 missing when two Chinese fishing vessels capsized. (Gang Jae-Nam/Newsis)


1) The polls are going to tighten up.  It’s just political gravity.  Many polls have Obama performing just as well as his 2008 results right now.  That’s really not a particularly likely outcome given how different the political context is.  I really don’t see how he gets to 53% of the vote.  I predict his final tally in the 50.5 to 52.0 range.

2) When the polls tighten the media will most definitely find some campaign-related event, gaffe, etc., to explain it.  It was the debates, Romney’s attacks on foreign policy, Obama’s statement xxxx, or whatever.  But damn it, if the polls tighten (which they probably will) it’s going to be a campaign story instead of one about the larger electoral context.


This is from the latest PPP survey of North Carolina:

Got that?  77% of Republicans think polling organizations are intentionally skewing their polls to help Obama (and another 14% are unsure).  Earth to Republicans– wake up and meet reality!  Sure, it sucks that your candidate is down in the polls, but choosing to believe an entirely implausible media conspiracy to explain this?!  These “skewed” Obama polls contain polls by noted socialists such as Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and lately, even Reublican consultant Scott Rasmussen.  Sadly, this polling result just shows how far Fox News et al., have gone to warp the Republican mindset.  (Or, maybe PPP is skewing these numbers to make Republicans look bad!)


%d bloggers like this: