Deep thoughts: Budgeting is just arithmetic, not math

posted at 10:01 am on June 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Yes, this will be the laugher du jour, but Ed Markey’s critics will largely overshoot the mark.  There is a difference between math and arithmetic.  Unfortunately for Markey, he still gets even that wrong:

This is actually a pet peeve of my son, the Mathemagician, who regularly decries the fact that Americans are taught arithmetic more than math in elementary education.  Math is a broad field of study of which arithmetic is just a base, and a lack of comprehension of the broader concepts creates all sorts of real-world problems for people later in life.

It also causes problems for Congress, thanks to careerists like Markey who have managed to run up national debt to Greece levels.  Part of what drives deficits and therefore debt is the interest we pay on the outstanding debt we already have.  We’re paying hundreds of billions of dollars in interest each year, which one needs to use algebra and not basic arithmetic to comprehend.  Furthermore, the calculus (generically speaking, of course) of our unfunded liabilities within entitlement programs requires a little more than the + and x signs in equations.  Budget deficit projections are also calculated on future economic growth, revenue assumptions, and other factors that greatly impact the analyses that drive public-policy decisions.  And don’t even get me started on the difference between static and dynamic analysis, the latter of which takes a lot more than a freebie calculator from your insurance agent.

People like Markey who assume we can avoid ever repaying our debt and fix budget problems by soaking the rich are usually only doing arithmetic.  We need more people doing math in Congress, and Markey is making it clear he should try doing something new after nearly 40 years in Washington.

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If we were all millionaires, no one would be poor.

abobo on June 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Markey’s job is to carry the One.

Flange on June 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

It’s easy, just mint a couple of dozen of those Trillion dollar coins they were talking seriously about last year. Problem solved!

Johnnyreb on June 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM

It also causes problems for Congress, thanks to careerists like Markey who have managed to run up national debt to Greece levels.

Greece levels. – Not even close. When you add up all of the Federal debt and unfunded liabilities, State(s) debt and unfunded liabilities, local debt and unfunded liabilities, Greece looks like they run a tight ship.

Our ship has sailed. We are somewhere around 5 times GDP in total liabilities. 80 Trillion Dollars or more. Catastrophic default will happen, just like the Titanic sank – it is a mathematical certainty.

oldroy on June 12, 2013 at 10:10 AM

It’s just O-rithmetic?

Doughboy on June 12, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Markey is making it clear he should try doing something new after nearly 40 years in Washington.

He’s trying. Unfortunately that something is going from the House to the Senate.

Happy Nomad on June 12, 2013 at 10:12 AM

When we see instances such as this, with utterly Clueless
Fools (who are career politicians) that represent our Nation,
I’m amazed our Nation is still in existence…….

I challenge any Democrat who happens to post here.
Please explain to the those of us on the Right WHY
you vote for such Idiotic Fools??

Yes, we have Todd Akin, who DID not get elected.
What is your excuse for this man Markey??
(Who keeps getting elected)

In other words, we don’t vote for our fools, you
vote for yours over and over again.

ToddPA on June 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

It’s just O-rithmetic?

Doughboy on June 12, 2013 at 10:11 AM

I think that is what they use at the IRS.

oldroy on June 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

D’oh

cmsinaz on June 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

It’s really not a politician. It’s just Markey. It’s very simple Markey. It’s not as complicated as a politician. (And that’s saying a lot.)

apostic on June 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

‘It’s really not math. It’s just arithmetic. It’s very simple arithmetic. It’s not as complicated as math.’

- Congressman Ed Markey

Math is hard.

So is, apparently, understanding that arithmetic IS math.

**FACEPALM**

Resist We Much on June 12, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Markey’s job is to carry the One.

Flange on June 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Nice…

pain train on June 12, 2013 at 10:16 AM

In Obama’s America, 2 + 2 = 5.

Fezzik on June 12, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Wow. This guy should run for Vice President.

ROCnPhilly on June 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Imagine if Bush or Palin had said this.

blink on June 12, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Or imagine if a teacher standing by a Vice President gave the VP the incorrect spelling of potato and the VP repeated it.

oldroy on June 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem to add up…

right2bright on June 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM

I have full faith that the Poli Sci/Lawyer class that infects congress, which our little Markey is a part of in good standing, really can fix it so spring begins on April 5 of every year, and that tornadoes, hurricanes, and even earthquakes can become a thing of the past.

MNHawk on June 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Basic Arithmetic is a skill, which can be learned by rote. Sadly, it is not taught that way…

oddball on June 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

my maths say we be screwed.

kirkill on June 12, 2013 at 10:33 AM

And don’t forget statistics.

Liberals think that financial and social “justice” will solve all human ills.

Wealth distribution in America, like a lot of other metrics, including intelligence, follow a bell shaped curve.

If you took all the wealth in America and divided it up evenly so that wealth distribution were a flat line, in five years, it would revert to a bell shaped curve.

15% of Americans are morons, another 15% are idiots, another 20% are liberals…..the bottom half of the bell shaped curve.

Statistics.

MichaelGabriel on June 12, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Yeah…but… Bush choked on a pretzel… so, uhmmm, there!

44Magnum on June 12, 2013 at 10:38 AM

“What difference does it make” spending has nothing to do with arithmetic or math, that is the consensus of this liberal/progressive government.

savage24 on June 12, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Markey + U.S. Senate seat = (?)

GreenBlade on June 12, 2013 at 10:44 AM

“It’s almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem. We have a budget deficit problem that we have to address,” Pelosi said.

“So, it isn’t as much of a spending problem as it is a priorities. And that’s what a budget is — setting priorities.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/nancy-pelosi-debt-sequester-budget-spending-cuts-2013-2#ixzz2W0stv9m1

workingclass artist on June 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

ToddPA on June 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

He has a D next to his name.

/libtard

VibrioCocci on June 12, 2013 at 10:47 AM

According to my math, one less Democrat in Congress is a plus for the country.

HiJack on June 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM

I think you are off the mark a bit. I am a beancounter and have completed thousands budgets during my career. I have to create a budget for every product line we create and sell. The important aspects of a budget is understanding the market, determining the penetration your product will have and then calculating the expected revenue. The same goes with expenses. You guess at what expenses (raw materials, commissions, salaries, interest) will be, but create flexibility to cut expenses if the revenues don’t transpire.
I understand that the government isn’t as flexible as a company (money allocated can’t be recovered) and requires more details. However, it’s a budget, an estimate. I understand about the complexities of interest payments, tax payments and other variables, but it’s a guesstimate. How many budgets have been created that fail to hit their numbers exactly? About 99.5%. How many budgets has the government produced that have been spot on? None.
So, while the differences between math and arithmetic is correct, a budget is nothing but pure math, calculated on a spreadsheet, with the best guesses one can make.

djaymick on June 12, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Democrat math: The wealthy = unlimited supply of taxes.

HiJack on June 12, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Democrats: “What’s a budget?”

HiJack on June 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Read more:

workingclass artist on June 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Uh, no thanks, I already have a headache.

LoganSix on June 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Democrats: “What’s a budget?”

HiJack on June 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

For a democrat it’s a list of goodies that they hand out to their friends, or a list of what their bud’s get.

Flange on June 12, 2013 at 10:56 AM

15% of Americans are morons, another 15% are idiots, another 20% are liberals…….

Then you add the 3% that are just dazed & confused (like HotAir trolls) and you get…ta da…Barack Obama as President.

MichaelGabriel on June 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

If we were all millionaires, no one would be poor.

abobo on June 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

How’s that working out for Japan?

Steve Eggleston on June 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Democrat math: The wealthy = unlimited supply of taxes.

HiJack on June 12, 2013 at 10:51 AM

May I suggest a correction, the “Conservative Wealthy =…”

right2bright on June 12, 2013 at 11:05 AM

The liberal arithmetic:

Propose a 25% increase in budget, Republicans propose a 15% increase…Republican’s cut budget by 10%, starving children and seniors, and targeting minorities.

And that is fact, NYT, LAT, ABC, CBS, NBC, you name it, they have all used the same arithmetic.

right2bright on June 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM

When we see instances such as this, with utterly Clueless
Fools (who are career politicians) that represent our Nation,
I’m amazed our Nation is still in existence…….

I challenge any Democrat who happens to post here.
Please explain to the those of us on the Right WHY
you vote for such Idiotic Fools??

Yes, we have Todd Akin, who DID not get elected.
What is your excuse for this man Markey??
(Who keeps getting elected)

In other words, we don’t vote for our fools, you
vote for yours over and over again.

ToddPA on June 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

ANS: Fools are easier to control as they just follow orders from the mindless, faceless, power-hungry machine called the “Party.”

It’s not about personal responsibility any more. Apparently, the majority have abdicated that in favor of the illusion of safety.

EB

EdmundBurke247 on June 12, 2013 at 11:12 AM

They are not good with ‘times’ and ‘gozintas’.

ghostwalker1 on June 12, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Its that damn funky equal sign at the end of equations that really messes people up.

It commonly gets confused with the part of the equation you just include whatever number you want to create social / economic equality, and then just add it up…

Ex.
2 + 2 = 17 trillion dollars

here the = sign simply translates to massive “revenue”, but you can change it to whatever suits the need…

PermanentWaves on June 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

djaymick on June 12, 2013 at 10:50 AM

All true, except that while the goal of a large budget is not precision, if it is to have any real meaning at all, it has to be a reasonable projection. A solid framework is the thing, with the capacity to make needed adjustments.

The United States Senate, however, does not “do” budgets. When the current leadership of the Senate began intentionally refusing to even try putting together a reasonable facsimile of a budget, year after year, it became very clear that there was something fundamentally wrong with their entire governmental process.

And this hopeless “candidate” Ed Markey not only just proved that he simply doesn’t get the fundamentals, he also proved that he would perpetuate the process of paving the existing “road to hell” that his party’s leadership has us all on.

Trochilus on June 12, 2013 at 11:43 AM

I’d like to see the math on just how much out of state money Markey’s campaign received. In a 10 minute span this morning there were 6 commercials. All on the same station.

Didn’t they get the memo that he has a D after his name. Why waste the money? Sad but in this state that’s all you need.

bsinc1962 on June 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

40+ years ago I lived in Melrose, MA which was part of Markey’s MA House of Rep district. I was a 13 year old kid collecting money for my (Catholic) school’s charity cause and Markey gave me a magnificant donation of $1.00. Even at that young age I could peg this guy as a phony. Markey is a brain dead hack politician but my uber-liberal family back in MA will still vote for him because….Rethuglicans!….Boooosh!…WAR ON WOOMYNS! I daily thank God I moved to Oklahoma twenty years ago, 1500 mile separation is just about right.

morbius on June 12, 2013 at 11:46 AM

The story goes that Blaise Pascal invented differential equations just so their would be a field of mathematics with no use whatsoever.

Differential equations now are the basis for most modern engineering.

Last I looked, “topology” has replaced it as a useless form of mathematics.

J_Crater on June 12, 2013 at 11:56 AM

I to deplore the use of the word math (mathematics) to mean arithmatic. Even in common usage it should include the other basic elements of mathematics commonly available and in cases required in high schools, i.e. simple algebra, calculus, and statistics.

burt on June 12, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Markey can only survive in a “friendly neighborhood with an open cover”

J_Crater on June 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Differential equations now are the basis for most modern engineering

and have been for several decades.

burt on June 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Pascal use to put cockelburr’s in his underwear to keep himself humble.
He was a bright fellow too bad a SW language was named after him that only allowed TWO LETTER variables.
C there is a better way.

Markey is prime example of a COMPLETE AND UTTER FRAUD.

Missilengr on June 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM

15% of Americans are morons, another 15% are idiots, another 20% are liberals…..the bottom half of the bell shaped curve.

I’ve come to the same sad conclusion. I have lost all faith in democracy and the American electorate. At this point, I think the USA needs a enlightened despot. Which of course puts me squarely in line with liberal thinking, so it’s an impossible feedback loop.

The other day I was watching Fringe and there was this scene where we were supposed to be all scared that the bad guys were going to wipe out the USA and it suddenly hit me that I no longer have this visceral reaction to that anymore. The bad guys have already wiped out what makes the USA special, and I’ve left the funeral.

Sad.

JoseQuinones on June 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

UGH!! Why can’t being stupid hurt really bad, ’cause it should really hurt to be that stupid!

Liberty or Death on June 12, 2013 at 2:49 PM