Thursday, July 29, 2010

Math Class

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) demonstrates Republican math skills:

Appearing on Fox News, Thune and host Greta Van Susteren discussed the bill’s call for the creation of a Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with reducing the deficit 10 percent year over year.

“It would be required to find 10% in savings — 10% of the deficit in savings every budget cycle,” Thune said.

“So in 10 years we wouldn’t have a deficit?” van Sustern asked.

“Theoretically, yes,” Thune replied. “10% Is a floor. Obviously — you can go beyond that.”

It actually doesn’t work like that, and anyone who took math in Grade 8 will tell you that.

Let’s say the government starts with a $1 trillion budget deficit. If Thune’s committee reduces it by 10%, it would be a $900 billion deficit a year later. The next year, it cuts another 10%. Would that bring it down to $800 billion? No, it’d be $810 billion ($900 billion – 10% = $810 billion). A year later it would be $729 billion, followed by $656 billion, and so on.

It would take 43 years to get to 1%, and theoretically you can never get to zero.

But it sounds good on TV, so what the hell.