Appearing on Fox News, Thune and host Greta Van Susteren discussed the bill’s call for the creation of a Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with reducing the deficit 10 percent year over year.
“It would be required to find 10% in savings — 10% of the deficit in savings every budget cycle,” Thune said.
“So in 10 years we wouldn’t have a deficit?” van Sustern asked.
“Theoretically, yes,” Thune replied. “10% Is a floor. Obviously — you can go beyond that.”
This is what’s known in think tank (and Twitter) circles as a #mathfail.
According to Thune’s plan, “the new Joint Committee must introduce legislation that eliminates or reduces spending on wasteful government programs and achieves a savings of at least 10 percent of the previous year’s budget deficit.” Because the deficit would decrease yearly, the actual returns on 10 percent annual savings would diminish over time, such that it would take decades to reduce the deficit to one percent of its current level. Forty-three years to be exact. For those who remember Zeno’s paradox, it would actually be impossible to ever completely eliminate the deficit under the Thune plan.
As the emailer who sent me this story noted, with that skill set, if he loses an election anytime soon he’s still qualified to be the business and economics editor at the Atlantic.