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Republicans The Almighty Buck Politics

President Trump's Budget Includes a $2 Trillion Math Error ( 356

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TIME: President Trump's budget includes a simple accounting error that adds up to a $2 trillion oversight. Under the proposed budget released Tuesday, the Trump Administration's proposed tax cuts would boost economic growth enough to pay for $1.3 trillion in spending by 2027. But the tax cuts are also supposed to be revenue-neutral, meaning that trillion dollars is already supposed to pay for the money lost from the tax cuts. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers called the oversight an "elementary double count" and "a logical error of the kind that would justify failing a student in an introductory economics course" in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
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President Trump's Budget Includes a $2 Trillion Math Error

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  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:21PM (#54472629)
    Like everything else from this administration, it's a lie. We don't have a functioning democracy any more because we don't have an informed public, sadly.
    • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:25PM (#54472649) Journal

      Hanlon's Razor applies here. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:30PM (#54472687)

        Disagree. This is malicious; intentional. Trump isn't stupid.

        • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:38PM (#54472763)

          Partially disagree. It's malicious but that doesn't mean Trump isn't stupid too.

          • by infolation ( 840436 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @06:02PM (#54472925)
            it's neither malice nor stupidity, it's hyperbole.

            TRUMP: We're gonna have the biggest math errors! Way better and bigger errors than the democrats!! Nobody makes math errors better than me, believe me. No one's every had more than a trillion dollar math error. They said it couldn't be done. I'm really smart - I went to the Wharton School of Finance. We're gonna have errors more than, more, er, than TWO TRILLION DOLLARS!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Darinbob ( 1142669 )

            Doesn't matter, Trump doesn't write the proposed budget personally. Hopefully he at least reviews the budget, but he's certainly not sitting there with a calculator and green eyeshades.

        • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:58PM (#54472889) Homepage

          Calm down, people, we don't want a fight here. Let's put aside our differences and try for the possibility of lasting peach [] on this site.

        • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:59PM (#54472905) Journal

          I disagree. I think Trump is a complete idiot. He can't make a statement over two sentences long that doesn't become a rambling filler-filled pile of nothing that is also impossible to parse. My belief is that he's suffering from dementia, but whatever the cause, the man is a moron. Now Reagan was a moron too, but at least he surrounded himself with some fairly rational individuals, and that's fine, no one expects a President to actually personally run every branch of the Government. But now you have someone probably mid-way through a serious cognitive decline who still believes he's some sort of super-genius.

      • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:38PM (#54472769) Homepage

        Hanlon's Razor applies here. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

        Gray's Law also applies [1].
        "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

        At some point the buck stops, and incomp etence is no excuse. Do you not think the buck stops with the POTUS? It doesn't matter if it's on purpose or a mistake - trillions of dollars of error should result in some firings.

        [1] []

      • I feel like this sentiment doesn't apply when malice has been proven repeatedly OR when the stakes are this high.

        The GOP has repeatedly demonstrated aggression to a majority of the country. One of the GOP tactics to pacify the majority of people who will be hurt by these policies is to play dumb.
      • by sit1963nz ( 934837 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @06:51PM (#54473257)
        Yeah, but Trump is both malicious and stupid.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by fatwilbur ( 1098563 )
          Just like during the election, Trump continues to do things in a way that challenges the modern political orthodoxy. It is very clear that most politicians today conduct themselves in a very similar manner to each other, they're all good at "acting like a politician".

          Trump continues to act in a way that is markedly not "like a politician". He speaks his mind (agreeing with what's said or not), nominates businessmen to senior posts instead of bureaucrats, speaks more openly with foreign leaders, etc, et
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 )
      Stop BSing yourself. We don't have a functioning democracy?

      Like sanctuary cities that think they're above the law?
      Like the federal government under Obama not enforcing immigration laws on the books.

      These things are dangerous - and I'm a proponent of immigration - but make it legal and on the f**king books.

      The Trump administration has done nothing counter to Constitution.

      And in case it matters I didn't vote for the orange oompa lumpa.
      • by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <fegg AT excite DOT com> on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:48PM (#54472825)

        The Trump administration has done nothing counter to Constitution.

        That remains to be seen. There's this thing in the Constitution called the Emoluments clause [] that restricts members of the government from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress. Trump maintains, through at least his family members and a paper-thin revocable trust, a LOT of property interests (hotels, resorts, golf courses, vacation homes) that rich foreigners can dump money into in return for a little kind attention from Herr Donald.

        He still hasn't released his tax returns either (is he still being audited, not that that means anything), which might show substantial financial obligations to foreign stake-holders (there's a lot of borrowing that goes on in the real-estate business).

        Then there's this little matter of involvement of a foreign power in the matter of an election [], and obstruction of justice [] for trying to cover up any link to that foreign power.

      • by Plus1Entropy ( 4481723 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @06:38PM (#54473159)

        Like sanctuary cities that think they're above the law?

        Actually, the vast majority of sanctuary cities are within the law, even by Trump's standards [].

        Like the federal government under Obama not enforcing immigration laws on the books.

        It is well within the powers of the President to prioritize law enforcement, especially immigration. It's not like deportations dropped suddenly under Obama. Would you rather deport X felons or X/2 felons + X/2 otherwise innocent people? This kind of thing happens all the time at every level of government. District Attorneys don't prosecute every case that comes in front of them, they have to prioritize. Would you claim a cop is "not enforcing the traffic laws" because they choose not to pull over a speeder while on their way to a homicide? Probably not.

        The Trump administration has done nothing counter to Constitution.

        Well not successfully at least. Federal judges from all over the country found enough of a Constitutional issue in Trump's travel bans to warrant indefinite injunctions until the cases are settled (assuming the Administration still intends to fight them at all).

        Keep in mind, the Administration didn't try to justify the bans in court, but instead claimed that they didn't have to provide justification. From the 9th Circuit Ruling (source []):

        [T]he government has taken the position that the president’s decisions about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections. ... There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.

      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @09:55PM (#54474301)

        Nothing above the law about sanctuary cities. The federal government can request assistance with immigration enforcement but the local governments are not compelled to cooperate. There is no law that says they must assist the INS on demand.

        INS claims (falsely) that they're only focusing on undocumented immigrants if they have committed serious crimes, and in such cases even sanctuary cities cooperate and turn the prisoners over. The case that riled so many against sanctuary cities when an illegal immigrant killed someone in San Francisco, there was no active warrant for the killer and there was no reason to continue detaining him. ICE requested he be detained but there was no legal basis for further detaining. The killer had no history of violent crimes, his deporations were due to drug laws and attempting re-entry to the US.

        Now would it have been above the law to detain a person when no charges had been filed, no warrant or evidence presented, but merely because a federal agent asked for this?

    • Wow. I was going to post a joke to the effect of:

      "It's a simple accounting error -- OR IS IT???
      o Make 'simple accounting error'
      o Nobody catches it
      o ???
      o PROFIT!

      ..but you've hit the nail on the head. With a mallet made of depleted uranium.

    • This. Very much this.

      The only reason this was so blatantly obvious is that these people are even incompetent at lying.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:25PM (#54472651) Journal

    You guys are so picky, c'mon. Math is hard.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:31PM (#54472695)

      "Nobody knew Math could be so complicated folks, nobody, believe me"

      • "And I can tell you folks. Nobody knows more about math and numbers than me. Nobody. I 'get' it, and I will just tell you the answers because I know. Trust me."

        "And don't listen to those Losers."

    • Thank you, Fiscally Responsible Barbie.
    • The Growth Myth (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <fegg AT excite DOT com> on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @06:20PM (#54473047)

      You're right, math is hard. But way too many people who call themselves conservatives round-off whatever errors they get by claiming the economy will magically, dramatically, improve and wipe out their mistakes. According to TFA:

      According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, for Trump's tax cuts to pay for themselves, the economy would have to grow at 4.5 percent over the next 10 years. That's two and a half times the growth rate projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

      That's always what these idiots do. Release the mythical tax strangle-hold on America's super-rich, and all the cuts to the safety net and spending for the military will magically be paid off, because the newly freed super-rich will invest their wealth and the whole country will soar like a pig full of hot air [].

      Conservatives who don't think very hard fall for this sucker-play because, to them, it's never been done, and it's waiting to happen, just begging to happen, and when it happens, it'll just totally work, and it'll be so great. Of course, nobody's holding a gun to the heads of rich people to do right with their tax relief and create jobs jobs jobs in America... they could spend it all overseas (a little more bang for the buck, there), spend it on yachts, spend it on cocaine... there's a lot of ways money can get spent... or not spent at all. Sunny-days, trickle-down budgets work just as well as Daddy's plan to move you into a nice house as soon as he wins his money back at the racetrack.

      It's not a math error. It's a scam.

      • A scam? Nonsense. You keep talking about rich people, but they make up a tiny fraction of the population. Anyone earning under $200k benefits immensely from tax cuts, in fact the lower someone's income the more they benefit. The money is usually immediately spent on goods or invested into markets (for the upper income bands).

        The economic benefits of cutting taxes are well known and logical. Sure, you need balance and to fund public institutions and services. But to demonize cutting taxes rather than
        • by raind ( 174356 )
          What about the myth that low income people don't pay taxes? Sure they spend all there money on goods and services, plus sales tax, insurance, health care, gas etc.

          The rich win either way.
          • A look at "Who Pays: A distributional Analysis" with disprove that immediately.

            Fact is that poor people pay a much larger percentage of their income for social security taxes (7.5 to 15% vs .03% for the top 1%), sales tax (7 to 12% (depending on the locality) vs .3%-.6% for the top 1%, state income tax ( about 2% more in most states except income tax free states and south carolina), excise taxes (about 5% to 9% vs under 1% in most states).

            If federal income taxes are loaded on the poor, then state, local, e

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Barbie, is that you? :P

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:27PM (#54472667)
    If the Bush/Obama tax cuts were fully repealed, it would restore $4T in tax revenues for a decade that could fix the hole in the budget. Those tax cuts never paid for themselves.
    • Bush was smart. He didn't just cut taxes for the rich, he cut them for everyone. No one wanted to raise taxes again after that, not even democrats.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:31PM (#54472693)

    this is the president you deserve though

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:38PM (#54472759)

    This is all just part of Trump's Alternative Math program.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:52PM (#54472847) Homepage Journal

    I consider a math error of that magnitude better than I dunno. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @05:53PM (#54472855)

    ... when a democrat is in the white house. Don't act surprised!!!

  • This math error basically doesn't matter. 1.3 trillion seems like a lot for a mistake, but that's like arguing with the magician who's just accidentally dropped a card out of his sleeve. Does it really matter whether it was a card from the deck or an extra copy of a card? It's still a magic trick. The whole proposal is built on poor estimates and pipe dreams with little or no supporting evidence. Admittedly, it's still a pretty big math error. I wonder if someone forgot to renew the license on the spr
  • by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2017 @06:02PM (#54472923) Homepage Journal

    ...soon you'll be talking real money.

  • Anything to do with science is nop priority for this administration, with a young earth creationist, evolution-denier as a VP.
  • Trump: Biggest budget error - E V A R. So big.

  • What an impressively evil innovation from the Trump administration. Think of it: the very first administration to double count dollars in an accounting gimmick in order to make its budget look better. Luckily, slashdot and Mr Summers are on the case.

    Do you see what happens, Larry? Do you see what happens when you double count tax reform pay-fors?

  • and soon you're talking about REAL money...

  • How many commenters here think Trump had a hands-on role in crafting this budget... as if he sat down, like Kevin Kline and Charles Grodin did in the movie 'Dave', reviewing the federal budget line-by-line looking for waste, and holding him personally responsible for every calculation.

    I guess that's a hold-over from the previous administration where every accomplishment was credited to the President personally, and every mistake to an unnamed career bureaucrat.

  • It's just a simple, innocent oversight. . .

    Someone forgot to carry the 12 zeroes somewhere.

    That's one error. You picky, picky math-checkers!

  • Accounting... Schmaccounting... if it doesn't work out we'll just declare bankruptcy and start over again. Worked for everything else Trump has touched.
  • Debt will be called in rescue for this accounting. But that is not a problem, since everybody in the World still wants to purchase US dollars.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson