When Math Spins Into Semiotics

Jeff “Not The Gun Guy” Rosenberg is a regional leftyblogger who, like most regional leftybloggers, writes at a couple of dozen blogs. I’ve met him, he’s a good guy.

Which doesn’t mean I can’t respond to this post, “Conservative Math”, over at (checks list) The Daily Liberal.

Turns out there’s more to “liberal math” than “multiply the crowd at any lefty protest by an order of magnitude; two if you’re nasty”:

Sometimes I just can’t help but respond to the local conservative blogs. Roosh at Shot in the Dark seriously believes conservatives have the answer to our national debt problem:

Jeff quotes Roosh’s post from last week, “Sheriff’s Sale”. The post’s money quote…

I maintain that our deficit spending habits and their product, our national debt have left our country in an increasingly precarious position and is in fact an issue of national security.

The extrapolation of the mathematics, an element of which is our evolving demographics (i.e. more people getting on the wagon and less people pushing it) will eventually result in a national financial meltdown and the collapse of the American dollar.

…echoes the possibly-fictional but still utterly accurate “Alexander Tytler” quote (I always thought it was De Tocqueville?): “A Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can exist only until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.

Liberals oft cited moral imperative to be a compassionate, civilized nation manifested in layers and layers of entitlements will be eclipsed by the fact that at some point we will simply be unable to service our debt let alone borrow more.

Soon we will all be conservatives. Fiscally-speaking that is. The question of what our federal government should or should not do for it’s citizens will become an academic discussion.

Rosenberg responds:

Unfortunately, he and the rest of the conservatives don’t have a leg to stand on. Their hero “W” has the dubious distinction of being the only president to lead us into war while simultaneously cutting taxes. Republicans in Congress fought tooth and nail against returning to pay-as-you-go rules.

Let’s try to get a couple of things straight:

  • “W” President Bush was never a hero to fiscal conservatives. I was a Forbes/Kemp guy in 2000, until the last gavel sounded at the convention; we all knew that Governor Bush’s record was that of a “fiscal moderate”. We warned the party. I never warmed up to Bush, really, until 9/11; history is going to completely vindicate his foreign policy on most counts. But his fiscal policy, especially his spending, have always been disasters.
  • His spending is a disaster because on that issue he is virtually indistinguishable from a liberal. His pre-9/11 Education program and the Prescription Drug benefits, for example, were closer to Ted Kennedy than Milton Friedman.
  • The Republicans in Congress from 2000 to 2006 certainly didn’t help matters much.

But so far, so good. That part is still on the rails.

This next bit…:

In typical Republican fashion, however, they don’t want you to pay any attention to this. The tax cuts aren’t the problem. The war isn’t the problem. Deficit spending–which we didn’t do under Clinton–isn’t the problem. No, the problem is that the terrible liberals want to make sure we provide our citizens with proper healthcare and send our veterans to college.

…not so much.

The tax cuts aren’t the problem – indeed they’re part of the solution. The war is part of the problem (but it did pretty much come to us, and the financial impact of not fighting the war might well have been much higher – which is a subject for a different post).

Deficit spending is surely a problem – see all of us Forbes supporters waving over here? (And Clinton can thank Reagan for the peace dividend check he cashed, and the Gingrich Congress for forcing him to be a moderate, and all of us conservative voters for rejecting the agenda of Clinton’s first two years at the polls in ’94).

Part of the problem, however, is that the left is trying to peddle the soft side of government spending, portraying it as “college benefits for veterans” and “health care”, omitting the bit about “generations of entitlement spending helping destroy the inner cities”, “farm entitlements destroying agriculture”, “government spending, and a generation of federalizing education, have left us with a decayed, failing school system”, “Education subsidies have made college unaffordable to everyone but the wealthy, except with government help” and, soon, “the entitlement and subsidy cultures that the Dems have spent the last four generations building is about to make private health care unaffordable and lead to de facto socialization even if the formal socialized medicine program doesn’t get jammed down our throats” and the big kahuna, “excessive taxation harms the economy”.

Don’t buy the hype. Conservatives these days are not interested in reducing government spending.

Jeff doesn’t hang around many of us. (Closed circuit to Brodkorb; we need more happy hours. Stat.)

They’re just interested in redirecting it: from working families to energy speculators,

This is one of those lefty memes – a non-sequitur, really – that puzzles me.

Conservative policy is to drill more oil, and do it now, to alleviate the shortage that exists now and will no doubt get worse if we don’t get more oil to market. It’ll affect the market psychologically in the short term (knowing the supply will eventually get better), and physically in the long term (more oil!) and will, in the end, be the key to developing a viable alternative energy economy (only prosperous societies can fix their problems; our prosperity at the moment depends on oil).

Speculation profits from scarcity. If a good is in plentiful supply, there’s no motive to speculate.

SPECULATOR 1: “George, are you interested in ten billion in oil futures?”

SPECULATOR 2: “Vot? Are you MAD, T-Boon? Ze Price iss FALLING! Ze zupply iss RISINK! Vy Vould I buy oil? Hell, Lefty propogohnda vebsites are a bettah inwestment! I’d rotha induce a deprezzhion in another emerging country!”

It’s only when a good is in short supply that there’s any upside to betting on its price fluctuations.

So the joke is this; a movement driven by the likes of George Soros – whose entire fortune is built on profiting from shortages, fluctuations, and the misery of others – is yapping at conservatives about “energy speculation”, when the liberals’ current policy is the one that’ll create the conditions that let them make their profits!

No, I didn’t think it was funny either.

At any rate; lefties? Feel free to keep trying to lecture us on math. Practice makes perfect.

2 thoughts on “When Math Spins Into Semiotics

  1. It was pretty simple. Don’t want George W in office? Don’t run Gore and Kerry against him. I am not happy with the reckless spending, but I would still vote the same way. As far as not doing deficit spending under Clinton, I would have to check out what was considered on budget and what was considered off budget. I am pretty sure the budget was balanced only beause of SS included in general revenue. I could be wrong.

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