Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tea Party Math

So on C-Span this morning I heard the director of Tea Party Express, one of the Tea Party organizing groups, say (paraphrasing - but the two claims are entirely faithful and they came one after another): "I'm tired of President Bush getting blamed for all the debt. President Obama ran up a third of the debt that we have today. He's run up more debt than all other presidents in American history combined."



  1. They probably would have had a better chance if they accepted the blame, apologized, and promised not to allow it to happen again, but as always, they deserve all the credit for anything good that happens while everyone else is responsible for the bad. Privileged sociopaths.

  2. I went to law school and now philosophy (moral, political, legal) for a reason. I'm still not sure I agree with Kant's 7+5=12.

  3. The claim that "He's run up more debt than all other presidents in American history combined" refers to the total government debt held by the public (including foreign investors) which has risen by 79% under his administration. Of course, 79% is not more than 100%, the correct claim that was shown in some ads is that publically held debt has risen by *almost* as much as it did in the rest of American history. It's not a stark if the total debt is measured including the debt held by the social security trust fund and the federal reserve.

    As we all should know here this sort of thing is most inaccurate because deflated figures are not being used. But, eliminating the government's debts to itself has pros and cons. I think that eliminating the debt to the SS trust fund is unwise, because the guarantee to pay SS represents a liability. But, eliminating some of the debt held by the federal reserve makes some sense. An amount representing the normal money supply would be appropriate, an amount representing an unusually high money supply would not be.

    1. The contradiction is in her statement. She said that Obama is responsible for 1/3 of the debt, but then follows up with the statement that he has run up more debt than all presidents combined. If we accept the former as true, then clearly the latter is impossible.

  4. Yes, I've noticed a trend in the Tea Party people. This trend is that they will repeat each and every line told to them by their leadership, even when it is clear that the line is incorrect. The funniest part is that in order to refute them one doesn't need to dig up resources or citations, you only need to use their quote in a logical context.


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