The Democrats' "War on Math"

Numbers haven't been Obama's strong suit. Photo: Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY, October 15, 2012—Between chortles, Vice President Biden managed to get a line in during his debate with Paul Ryan: “not mathematically possible.”

He was talking, of course, about the Romney-Ryan plan to reduced federal income tax rates by 20% for all brackets, and make up the revenue by eliminating deductions on high earners.

Instead of engaging on the issue of whether  reducing tax burdens and compliance costs would be worth it to the federal treasury, the Democratic ticket insists on hiding behind appeals to math.

Romney’s proposal, of course, calls for a reduction in income tax rates of 20 percent (from 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent to 8, 12, 20, 22.4, and 28 percent, respectively), as well as a reduction of the corporate tax rate and repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax and the estate tax. These reductions in rates would be offset by eliminating deductions enjoyed by the very wealthy.

But the Left doesn’t quite like talk about lowering taxes, particularly when that talk comes in support of a plan that would be revenue neutral. They choose to avoid arguing whether tax reform would stimulate the economy or make life easier for taxpayers, but rather the fact that it supposedly violates basic math.

President Obama summarized as much in the first debate with Romney.

“And the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you described, Governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It’s— it’s math. It’s arithmetic.”

Ironically, arithmetic has been a thorn in the side of this president. Remember that candidate Obama described President Bush’s $300 billion deficits as “immoral” and “unpatriotic.” Simple arithmetic suggests that the latter’s  average deficit is about three times as big as the former’s.

But Democrats insist that math is on their side. Rachel Maddow was exemplary in her reliance on their new favorite word after she heard the president use it. During her post-debate coverage she exchanged barbs with Rudy Giuliani over the Romney tax plan, and accused the GOP nominee of wanting to give the ultra-rich a $5 trillion tax break. On Giuliani’s objection to that characterization, she said, “that’s the non-partisan math of this. You can just  do it with a couple of calculations. It’s not calculus.”

Really? What calculations, pray tell, did Rachel Maddow perform? Seriously, what were those one or two calculations?

Forget calculus. Addition has been a particularly complicated when it comes to Obama policy. For one, the president didn’t realize that once you count over $700 cuts to Medicare as savings to the program you can’t count them again as part of deficit-reduction.

The Congressional Budget Office must have taken some math lessons. Since the first time they scored Obamacare, in 2009, until last summer, they found a difference of near 100% in spending over ten years. For those who love math, like Ms. Maddow, that’s double.

The truth is that math hasn’t worked out real well for the Obama administration. “Half,” as in “I pledge to cut the deficit in half” turned into “quadruple.” Obamacare numbers are getting bigger and bigger every time anyone decides to look at them, and “perpetually above 8%” seems to have passed for “never below 6%” for most of his tenure.

For a party so bad with numbers, they really need to stop talking about math.



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Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic TrainingTunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative. 

He writes about Salt Lake City and the World in the Food and Travel section.

Read more: If the presidential election were the Superbowl | Washington Times Communities 
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Rich Stowell

Rich Stowell has written about politics and travel for the Washington Times Communities since 2011. He is a soldier in the Utah National Guard and a fellow at the Center for Communication and Community at the University of Utah. Rich is the author of "Nine Weeks: A Teacher's Education in Army Basic Training"and continues to blog about military issues at “My Public Affairs.”

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