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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Deficit Committee Co-Chair Reveals Himself as Numerologist

Deficit Committee Co-Chair Reveals Himself as Numerologist

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Thursday, 01 July 2010 05:15

Erskine Bowles, the Democratic co-chairman of President Obama's deficit commission, revealed that he was a numerologist yesterday when he suggested that the commission should set a limit on federal government spending at 21 percent of GDP. (Numerologists assign mystical powers to specific numbers.)This fact should have been highlighted more prominently because it is unusual to have people with such extraordinary beliefs in prominent positions in government.

More typically these people are pragmatists who believe that goods and services should be provided in the most efficient possible way. For example, if it is more efficient to provide retirement benefits through a public Social Security system or health care through a public Medicare-type system, most people in responsible positions would support expanding the public sector.

However, because of his belief in numerology, Mr. Bowles would waste resources, thereby slowing growth and eliminating jobs, by instead providing these services in a less efficient manner in the private sector. This is a very peculiar view and should be highlighted by those reporting on the deficit commission.

Comments (11)Add Comment
...
written by izzatzo, July 01, 2010 8:28
Numerology is to Austeritology
As Astrology is to Scienceology

When in Doubt Be Exactly Wrong
Rather Than Approximately Right
what's up with that first name
written by frankenduf, July 01, 2010 8:57
maybe he's a gambler
21
written by dissident, July 01, 2010 12:59
It's blackjack.
Is Obama devious?
written by Joe K, July 01, 2010 1:57
Coupled with Simpson, looks like the leadership of our deficit commission is close to brain-dead. Perhaps that is what Obama intended, so that the commission's recommendations could be easily discredited and ignored.

If so I guess a good plan, but I'm still leery of what these ignoramusses might come up with.
...
written by diesel, July 01, 2010 3:56
Thanks Dean, for a good laugh.
FROM THE LINKED ARTICLE
written by Queen of Sheba, July 01, 2010 8:53
"CBO Director Doug Elmendorf warned lawmakers that the 2010 health-care overhaul made a 'dent' in health-care spending, but that it 'did not substantially diminish that challenge" of cost-cutting.'"

Unless this mystical committee insists that the lawmakers take another swipe at health care reform - this time putting together a program that will bring our health care costs in line with the rest of the countries that provide universal coverage - their efforts to "reorganize" every other big ticket item in the budget won't get them much closer to the 21% mark.

And about that 21% number. Maybe it was the product of numerology, but I would rather imagine the committee's sitting around a table and each one guessing a two-digit number, then drawing a number out of a hat. The one who had guessed the number closest to the one he drew would be the winner, and his number would be the one used in the WSJ article.
Congratulations, Erskine!
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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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