View Full Version : How $100 Million is Large When $8 Billion is Small

05-01-2009, 09:39 AM
The ultimate in fuzzy math! (http://townhall.com/columnists/JonSanders/2009/04/30/obamas_revenue_relativism_-_how_$100_million_is_large_when_$8_billion_is_smal l)

The perception that the Obama administration is exceptionally two-faced concerning budget matters is, believe it or not, unfair. Granted, Pres. Obama calling his multi-trillion-dollar spending plan with its unprecedented deficits "a new era of responsibility" seemed to invite skepticism, by which is meant open laughter. In truth, the president is using a new formula for federal expenditures that, when understood the correct way, amounts to great budgetary wisdom.

Unfortunately, few people understand it the correct way. But just as paying taxes is patriotic, learning this transcendent vision of federal expenditures — Obama's Revenue Relativism formula — is essential to good citizenship.

Expressed mathematically, this formula is 80x < y, where x equals "a lot of money" and y equals "a miniscule amount of money." Simplified explanations of the variables come courtesy of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.


Here is the formula in practice, from an April 20 press conference. Gibbs is trying to explain it to ABC's Jennifer Loven and Jake Tapper in the context of Obama's plan to cut $100 million from the same federal budget he already plans to increase by half a trillion dollars:

LOVEN: The deficit’s giant. $100 million really is only a step.

GIBBS: But no joke.

LOVEN: You sound like you’re joking about it, but it’s not funny.

GIBBS: I’m not making jokes about it. I’m being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money. It is where I’m from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans.

Note: yes, technically, $100 million to hundreds of millions of people amounts to only a few cents per person. Before you make the mistake of thinking that doesn't sound like a lot of money to folks, however, remember the 2008 elections, which proved people are awed by change.

Skipping ahead a bit:

TAPPER: You were talking about an appropriations bill a few weeks ago about $8 billion being minuscule — $8 billion in earmarks. We were talking about that and you said that that

GIBBS: Well, in terms of — in…(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: …$100 million is a lot but $8 billion is small?


A true revenue relativist can even withstand the temptation to ask how, in the name of all that's holy, a $500,000 million planned increase reduced by just $100 million could possibly be called a "cut."