Thursday, April 12, 2012

Political Debate by the Numbers

In the superheated rhetoric of an election year, politicians and talking heads tend to say a lot of things that are a good deal more stupid than usual, and seldom worry about the bothersome requirement to actually prove the truth of their statements. The Washington Post fact checker has gone so far as to rate political statements on the Pinocchio Scale of one to four, with four Pinocchios equating to a howler of the first rank. Of course, in today's environment, truth is a flexible thing which depends on one's political and religious tendencies.

Wouldn't it be nice if truth could be proved mathematically? In some cases, it can.

Take the current issue of the fairness of the tax code and calls from some to impose higher taxes on the rich so that they "pay their fair share." What's fair? Who knows? It depends on how you define your terms. But if we try to establish success and, therefore, taxability, mathematically, we might be able to get somewhere. Here's an example:

We begin with three essential assumptions

1. Knowledge is Power.
2. Time is Money.
3. Power is Work over Time.

So, substituting algebraic terms and equations for the above, we get:

(1) K = P
(2) T = M
(3) P = W/T

Substituting W/T for P in equation (1), we find that:

(4) K = W/T

Substituting M for T in equation (4) gives us:

(5) K = W/M ... that is, Knowledge equals Work over Money.

Therefore, we can infer that:

1. The more you know, the more work you do; and,

2. The more you know, the less money you make.

Solving equation (5) for Money, we see that:

(6) M = W/K, or Money equals Work over Knowledge.

Therefore, we see that Money approaches infinity as Knowledge approaches zero, regardless of the Work done. Ergo,

The More you Make the Less you Know.

Solving equation (6) for Work, we find that:

(7) W = M x K, or Work equals Money times Knowledge.

From equation (7), we see that Work approaches zero as Knowledge approaches zero. What this demonstrates is:

Dumb rich people do little or no work.

I'm not sure what I just proved, and how it applies to the debate over tax liability, but it looks and sounds good ... which - in today's political environment - is all you need. Just ask Faux News or MSNBC (depending on your direction of lean).

Don't thank me. It's all part of my ongoing effort to help you make sense of the political and economic insanity swirling around you.

Have a good day, by the numbers.

More thoughts tomorrow.


P.S. - where's Numeric Life when we really need her?



John A Hill said...

I was thinking that Numeric life would like this post!

Duckbutt said...

A remarkable proof of what I wondered.

I extended the reassoning to academe. The higher the academic rank or position, the more one's salary is. And it seemed that instructors and assistant professors were paid less than full professors or deans, but more capable. Therefore, is the compensation schedule with a built-in system for stupidity? Except for deans, this is not much to worry about, though.

The Bastard King of England said...

If K = P, and ignorance is bliss, why isn't the lack of power = bliss?

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

In today's political climate, appearances are all-important.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Also, M = W/T

Pretty well suggests that speed is important, irrespective of quantity.

Mike said...

Funny, I recently went to Numeric Lifes' website and left a 'When are you coming back?' comment.

Big Sky Heidi said...

I'm pretty blissful, and I'm broke.