Universal Translator

Monday, August 8, 2011

Well, I’m Gonna Call It A .333 Average

Which isn’t bad for the Major Leagues, but Lord it ain’t good for government work.

About a month ago I wrote a longish post gaming out where I thought we were with the debt ceiling negotiations.  Now that a deal has been struck, here’s how my predictive abilities stacked up:

(1)  I predicted a deficit reduction plan “somewhere close to a $2 trillion to $2.4 trillion” range.  That appears to be fairly close; the deal put together calls for – ultimately – $2.5 trillion in cuts.  I’m gonna call that a win.

(2)  I predicted that about $400 billion of the reduction plan would consist of revenue increases.  Boy, was that wrong.  At the time I simply couldn’t imagine that Obama and the Dems would agree to a reduction plan that contained zero in the form of tax increases, tax loophole eliminations, reductions of depreciation schedules for things like private jets, etc., but I’ve learned my lesson since.  It’s sad to say, but I think the Republican Party has proved its point:  taking economic and legislative hostages pays off, because the party willing to play “responsible parent” will eventually cave completely.  So that’s a fail.

(3)  I never even came close to predicting a two-step deficit reduction plan largely overseen by a Congressional “SuperCommittee,” but – seriously – who would have?  That is a seriously, seriously bad idea and only underscores how badly dysfunctional is the 112th Congress (more about this later).  Still, that’s another fail.

So, I’m copping publicly to a not very good track record on federal entrails reading and general prognosticative abilities.  But since I spent so much time last month running through in exhaustive detail why I thought the way I did, I figured simple honesty compels me to admit now where I was wrong.

Well, honesty and also vanity.  I’ll probably continue to read entrails and prognosticate and sooner or later I’ll get it right, and then I’ll do a victory dance and talk about how really really smart I am.  (I’m just warning you.)  And I figure that in order to preserve my ability to do any kind of Happy Dance when I get things right, I’ll have to cop – as I am doing now – to all the many, many more times when I get things wrong.

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