Sassy, unrelated Math.

So, I know unrelated math is supposed to be..related to math, but I AM an Econ major so forgive me if politics and such spills into my unrelated math sometimes (#sorrynotsorry).

I was on CNN, and nonchalantly searched math (smooth right?), to find this mock letter from Anderson Cooper to the President written in 2011. And to no one’s surprise, it’s just a bit sassy.

He basically calls out the President for using math as a crutch to solve deficit problems. The President was quoted as saying “It’s not class warfare. It’s math.” when asked about raising taxes for higher-income  Americans.

Anderson Cooper brings out the sass and defines math as just numbers, and explains the idea that there is no fairness number, fraction, or irrational number you can add to tax recipes to make the math prove that something is fair.

I agree with Mr. Cooper here. Math is great and everything, don’t get me wrong. But when you start only going by theorems, numbers, and equations to run a country, you start treating your citizens like numbers. And who wants to feel like that?

This leads me to a very important conclusion about math. Math is a very powerful tool. But adding substance to that math – opinions, conclusions, rules, connotations – is a whole different battle. You can see this come through, especially in statistics. You can do the math completely correctly, but interpret it in thousands of ways. When you think about it, math can become very controversial. You can find the poverty rate by taking a census and finding the proportion of people making less than $20,000 a year, but why should that be the cut off? What does salary have to consist of? Is this counting assets? Who was included in the census? Is that an accurate way to find out what poverty is like in the US? Why does salary proportion matter when anyone in this country is experiencing hardship? Should the President only care about poverty if 50% of Americans are under the poverty line? 40%? 10%?

Don’t even get me started on presidential elections stats..What a slippery slope.

So. Will you use your math powers for good or for evil out in the real world, or will you settle for just crunching numbers?

The choice is yours.

(If choosing evil, make sure you have an evil laugh like this.)

Also, completely unrelated, but happy Friday ya’ll!


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