Thursday, October 07, 2010

Another example...

... of why Newt Gingrich is an idiot(but then you already knew that I'd bet):

Newt on Pelosi's Food Stamps :
She says that for every dollar a person receives in food stamps, $1.79 is put back in the economy... Well, you know, I carry around a bumper sticker that says 2 plus 2 equals 4. So I’d be very curious how a dollar given to somebody becomes a $1.79. And I think if we could get that to work with the U.S. Treasuries, so if people gave the Treasury $1,000, it became $1,790, we could pay off the federal debt and never worry about spending or anything. I mean, I — you know, somehow, I don’t understand how liberal math turns $1 into $1.79.
Wall Street Journal in 2009:
Money from the program — officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — percolates quickly through the economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calculates that for every $5 of food-stamp spending, there is $9.20 of total economic activity, as grocers and farmers pay their employees and suppliers, who in turn shop and pay their bills.

While other stimulus money has been slow to circulate, the food-stamp boost is almost immediate, with 80% of the benefits being redeemed within two weeks of receipt and 97% within a month, the USDA says.
That's $1.84 per dollar, so Pelosi actually understated the figure. The point is folks like Newt and friends are determined to show you how smart they are by proving that they don't understand economics at all.

Thinking more on this quote, something else stands out to me. Newt says he has a bumper sticker he carries that says 2 + 2 = 4. Now that's a level of math that I think I learned in first grade if not earlier by the simple understanding of "Johnny has 2 apples and Sarah gives him 2 more.." So it isn't something that really requires a bumper sticker to acknowledge. But the frame here fits. Republicans prefer to explain complex economic models with examples that equate to remedial mathematics, because they can't prove their point any other way. What I can't tell is whether that's really their level of mathematical understanding or if they don't believe Americans(or the Republican base at least) can understand anything more complex. The problem is that either of these possibilities represents a problem. But then y'know math is hard.

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