Poor Math Skills Are Killing Our Nation

“We don’t have a spending problem. We have a ‘paying for’ problem.” – Nancy Pelosi

As of today, Congress as a whole has a 15% approval rating. Yet Congressional reelection rates are well over 80%. In 2012, the reelection rate was over 90%. This means that we hate Congress yet we keep the people we hate in office. Voters seem to have “abused spouse syndrome.” They really want to get rid of their elected officials, yet keep coming back to them.
“Congress is bad, but my Congressman is wonderful.” Really?

Now, the numbers I just cited have probably instantly caused most eyes to glaze over. This is for a number of reasons. First, we are bombarded with statistics every day. In the haze of journalistic war, it just becomes a blob of nonsense. As Mark Twain said, “There are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics.” Through this concept, we have come to understand the manipulation of statistics. Take, for example, statistics concerning “climate change.” Based on statistics, a slab of scientists makes a bulk statement that we are doomed. A bevy of liberals squawks about these statistics until we are both scared and bored. A herd of politicians aims to do something about it by legislating pollution controls. Finally, a nest of communists tells us we’re too stupid to control our own air and water. What do we do? We shut down because of the cacophony. We resist the math because of the control. It becomes too hard to talk math because of the dialectic involved.

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Second, most eyeballs become glassy over math because it is to them incomprehensible. Did I just call you stupid? I don’t think so. I believe I just challenged everyone to check themselves. Do you really know math? Do you really understand fractions and percents? Because if you don’t, the control freaks will win every time. They know math, and they believe you don’t. Take Nancy Pelosi… please. How does she get away with saying that Congress doesn’t have a spending problem? Honestly, because most people can’t prove her wrong. Instead of mocking her, which she deserves, most people simply agree with her. My proof of this outlandish claim? She was reelected, wasn’t she?

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Let’s get this straight: understanding math is essential to repairing our nation’s soul. On this, understanding the “deficit” is more important than understanding the “debt.” Nancy Pelosi made her statement based upon the debt, not the deficit. She’s not referring to overspending the budget deficit. She’s referring to the idea that the debt is a function of governmental services. She is articulating compassion as function of debt. She is saying it’s government’s job to be a charity foundation. She is the ultimate liberal. She is also the ultimate communist tool or communist leader – take your pick. For when she manipulates math to her benefit, it is to our detriment. The “common good” is not served by her rendition of serving the common good. The common good is only served when individuals are free. Otherwise, we are all puppets or slaves of an elite class of oligarchs.

Oh, wait…

If we don’t understand the math, we will keep voting incorrectly. We will keep reelecting the same sarcastic, manipulative control freaks.

So, how do we get the American people to understand math? We must stop quoting percents as if people understand them! They don’t! They don’t understand a 10% flat tax is good. They don’t understand a 1% Mack Penny Plan is good. They don’t understand a 20% spending-to-GDP ratio is bad. They don’t understand a voter turnout over 100% is bad.

Instead, we must speak in real numbers as if they are pictures. The liberals and communists are most adept at this. They spin images from numbers like great carny hucksters. “If we cut spending, 50% of firefighters will lose their jobs!” By saying this, the gauntlet is thrown.
It is not the 50% which is important here, but the idea that firefighters will lose their jobs. Conservatives, Republicans, and libertarians are incapable of fighting this. They get lost in the percents. “No,” they rebut, “that is false. It will only be a 2% cut.” Too late!

They have already settled that a loss of firefighters is imminent. Fires will rage out of control! Even a 2% loss of firefighter skill is a disaster! The world is coming to an end! What is the proper response? “Zero firefighters will lose their jobs with this spending cut. Zero.” This first thrust is a counterattack of math. Neutralize their numbers. The best offense against their outlandish number is an intense counter-number. But is it true? Yes!

A 2% cut will lose zero firefighters. There will only be a small firefighter wage decrease. How much? An average fireman makes $45,000 per year, or $900 per week.
Assume after-tax take-home pay to be $600 per week. A 2% cut brings a firefighter’s take-home pay to $588 per week. In “end of the world” terms, the $12 reduction is barely worth mentioning. It is not a drastic number. And zero jobs lost. Most people can understand those kinds of numbers. Don’t get me wrong, no one wants to see any firefighter take home less pay. But the only reason a firefighter would lose his job is to save another’s salary. “Well, who gets to choose which firefighter stays and which one goes?” Good question! Now we’re getting somewhere.

This links to Pelosi’s “paying for” message. Her concept is that we need to find ways to pay for that $24 firefighter reduction. The problem, however, is that she doesn’t want to give up anything for it. She wants to keep spending, spend more, AND retain all of the firefighters and their pay. Any sane person should say, “Well, you can’t have everything.” Ah, but the rub is that Pelosi and her ilk have learned the art of controlling language. If we don’t have a spending problem but a “paying for” problem, whose fault is it? Obviously, those who don’t want to pay! In one fell swoop, Pelosi brands thrifty Americans as “cheap” and “mean.” Those who say “You can’t have everything” are simply holding out. Thus, a “paying for” problem. The imagery conjured is that those who object ought to be held upside down and shaken. Then, we can get at their wallets and loose change. The gall is that anyone has the right to shake you upside down to take what you have. That’s called theft, robbery, stealing. So, the reality is that Nancy Pelosi is arguing for theft.
“We had to shake you upside down because you wouldn’t give voluntarily.” “We had to…” Remember that phrase, because it will be used more and more in the future. “We didn’t want to, and we still don’t, but we have to…” for the firefighters… for the children… for “Team America.”

To deburr her message, to take off the sharp edges, Pelosi calls for a millionaire’s tax. “Don’t worry,” she says, “we’re only going after cheap millionaires.” Many people agree with Pelosi. “Those millionaires don’t pay enough taxes!” Of course they do. They pay income tax, sales tax, property tax, gas tax, and so forth.

I think you mean they retain more money than you do. I think you mean that millionaires ought to share in your misery. I think you mean that you are covetous, jealous, and angry. I think you mean that you no longer believe in private property. I think you are becoming a communist. I think you are evil.

Thus, the argument over who will pay for government spending is a moral argument. It involves permitting theft. It involves fanning the flames of coveting. If involves unequal weights and measures, a progressive tax system. It involves bearing false witness, a public lie to bilk the public, to slander the rich.

If we don’t know math, we are prone to this manipulation. The manipulators will insist that their math is correct. If we don’t know the real math, we can’t have a rational discussion or argument. If we don’t have rational discussions or arguments, we can’t make informed decisions.
If we can’t make informed decisions, we will reelect the manipulators. Their “compassionate” arguments will sway our emotions. But if we know math, our emotions will have to take a back seat. It’s not a matter of millionaires paying more for our desires. It’s a matter of asking ourselves, “Why do we want to make the rich pay more?” Are we so corrupt that we must steal from others to satisfy our demands?

The correct math is to count the Ten Commandments. The correct math is to count our blessings. The correct math is to freeze government spending at current limits. The correct math is to balance the budget by forbidding deficits. The correct math is to stop reelecting manipulators, control freaks, and communists.

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