Archive for the ‘Trends from Single Data Points’ Category.

Bizarre Alternate Reality

Kevin Drum is claiming that the government has already done much fine work on deficit reduction, reducing spending by $1.8 trillion and increasing taxes by $600 billion.

This is fantasy, pure and simple, and perhaps why the term "reality-based community" has fallen out of favor among Progressives.   There has been and will likely be no reduction in spending -- these "spending cuts" are merely reductions in spending growth rates from the Administration's initial wet dream spending proposals. I am sure the tax increases are probably real, but Obama and the Congress were already proposing to spend most of those in new stimulus and other boondoggles right in the end of year tax legislation.

The tax numbers are characteristic of the stupid budget games played by both parties.   For example, the recent tax law represents a tax increase over law in place on 12/31/2012, but represents a massive tax cut vs. law set to be in place on 1/1/2013.  This gives the administration cover to call it both!  When it wants to portray itself as a deficit hawk, as in this case, it was a tax increase.  When it wants to portray itself as being populist, it was a tax cut.

Charts like this are absolutely worthless.  We will likely get deficit reduction over the next few years, but it will be entirely due to rising tax revenues from an improving economy.

And here we are back to my constant theme -- if you want to posit a trend, then show the trend.

A Deadly Trend the Government Should Do Something About

Yesterday, 114-year old Mamie Rearden died in South Carolina.  This just a month after the death of 115-year-old Dina Manfredini of Iowa.

Obviously something is killing off 114+ year old Americans, and the government needs to investigate.  These two poor women represented a huge percentage of the American 114+ year old population, both dead inside a single month.

If this plea seems absurd, it is.  But no more absurd than the near-constant pleas for government action based on other tail-of-the-distribution random events.  Heck, at least I had two data points to falsely declare a trend.  Those claiming a "trend" in mass shootings from Sandy Hook or in extreme climate from Hurricane Sandy are extrapolating a trend from only a single data point.

OMG, I never even realized -- that's another deadly trend -- things named Sandy!  When will Congress act?