Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Math is Haard

A truer title never given. I've never had a knack for math. I always could arrive at a somewhat correct number (which I understand is not really math because numbers are by nature definitive), but couldn't really show or know how I got there.

So this is an informative post. As opposed to analytical, that is. With a question at the end. And maybe some in the middle.

Ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Representative Paul Ryan, released a budget proposal. This I'm pleased about. I seem to remember the "Roadmap for America" idea put forward before with something much less serious than what Rep. Ryan has put together, even though I may not agree with the Republican ideology.

The Congressional Budget Office has also released its analysis (pdf). It's over my head. It's all pretzel logistics and incestuous fiscal reasoning and future decade hopeful projections to me. I do believe that the system as it is is not sustainable and something has to be done. What? I dunno, but at least there are choices greater math minds than mine have to consider.

I'd love to be able to read the CBO's report, much like, say, fine-ass Ezra Klein does and give a non-partisan distillation, but seriously, Ezra has liberal ways. I'd love to read a Conservative or even a Libertarian distillation that I don't end up yelling something like "Are we just going to let our seniors die, or only well-to-do ones get to live"or "Dammit, we aren't each an island" at. But that's just my own liberal bent being reactionary. Plus, if I'm being totally honest, I'm knocking on the "senior" door - softly - am single and frankly don't want to die sitting at the nurses station in diapers in some sub-standard old folks' home because I have more time than life and that's all my vouchers will allow me. Megan McArdle seems to resent my baby boomer entitlement.

You know what I do? I pay my taxes. I pay my credit card bills. I let the government have that tax free loan I give them every year just so I can have extra bucks in my pocket every May.

So, questions.

1. How can a budget, any budget, be sustainable? Aren't there, by nature of the Republic, going to be changes? And isn't each change a ripple that will effect the projected outcome many fold?

2. Really, are we just going to let seniors receive only the care they can afford? Is a comprehensive and caring health entitlement for the aged not something we as a nation can extend?

3. Is it me, or is Megan McArdle's snotty asides infuriating? I just remember that if she's lucky, she's gonna get old too.


  1. Math is hard to understand ,but need concentration for understanding the concept.

  2. @m Thanks for your astute comment.

  3. Anonymous11:28 AM

    It seems like "sustainable" is mostly a buzz word, that plays into the notion that if we could just fix our problems they'd go away. So, when serious people use the term "sustainable" I think what they mean is "affordable", that is a budget within a range of expense that allows the nation to respond to desperate and disparate events without resulting in economic catastrophe. And obviously that budget would have to be constantly evaluated and corrected, as you suggest. I'm being supercilious, but only for fear of misstating myself.