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Jan 22, 2005 12:17 am

Numbers Aren't My Strength ...

I managed to avoid college math by taking a course in logic. Like Maureen Dowd says of Condoleezza Rice, numbers aren't my strength. Dowd concludes:
It is puzzling that if you add X (no exit strategy) to Y (Why are we there?) you get W²: George Bush's second inauguration.
At Condi's hearing, she justified the Bush administration's misadventures by saying history would prove it right."I know enough about history to stand back and to recognize that you judge decisions not at the moment, but in how it all adds up," she told a skeptical Senator Biden.
Problem is, she's calculating, but she can't add. For now, Sam Cooke is right about the Bushies. They don't know much about history.
I do better with history. But even I understand that these numbers, cited by Numeralist, are troubling:
By the Numbers: The U.S. After 4 Years of Bush

Poverty Rate
2000: 11.3% or 31.6 million Americans
2003: 12.5% or 35.9 million Americans

Stock market
Dow Jones Industrial Average
1/19/01: 10,587.59
1/19/05: 10,539.97

1/19/01: 2,770.38
1/19/05: 2,073.59

S&P 500
1/19/01: 1,342.54
1/19/05: 1,184.63

Value of the Dollar
1/19/01: 1 Dollar = 1.06 Euros
1/19/05: 1 Dollar = 0.77 Euros

2000 budget surplus $236.4 billion
2004 budget deficit $412.6 billion
That's a shift of $649 billion and doesn't include the cost of the Iraq war.

Cost of the war in Iraq
$150.8 billion

American Casualties in Iraq
Deaths: 1,369
Wounded: 10,252

The Debt
End of 2000: $5.7 trillion
Today: $7.6 trillion
That's a 4 year increase of 33%.

Thanks to Eric Alterman at Altercation for the tip.

On some other numbers, Oliver Willis suggests that you watch this clip of Vanity Fair's Judy Bachrach trying to tell FOX News's Bridgitte Quinn how an appropriate Inaugural celebration in wartime might look.

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More Comments:

Richard Henry Morgan - 1/22/2005

The poverty rate figures could use some thorough unpacking. They are extraordinarily sensitive to fertility changes and to the changing relative size of cohorts at the youngest and lowest age groups. It would be interesting to see if the 2003 figures remain stable, increase, or decrease when normalized for such effects. Moreover, the poverty line is a shifting convential stipulative definition, and involves, like Social Security increases, the invocation of market baskets that don't actually reflect purchase patterns of the poorest, or don't actually reflect welfare measures. The 2003 figures could be significantly better or worse than the underlying reality.

Pete Anderson - 1/22/2005

As a Canadian I don't know all the complexities of the American governing system, especially not the contemporary version of it, so this question may seem a bit naive. How much is the government in control of the economy and can it really be held responisibility for the lurching of the dollar and stock market?

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