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Crunching the numbers

Published January 05. 2013 09:02AM

I hope everyone has had a very Happy New Year with friends and family. Welcome to 2013, and all the hopes and joys it has to bring to you. As part of the celebration we typically watch the ABC New Year's Rockin' Eve program and this year it was bittersweet as we watched the retrospective tribute to Dick Clark who became the icon of the celebration over the past several years. I remember when I was a child my parents and grandparents would observe New Year's Eve by watching Guy Lombardo . It will be interesting to see if Ryan Seacrest becomes the new Mr. New Year's Eve. Fittingly, only time will tell. (I can hear the groans now).

I read with interest Mr. Panckeri's letter to the editor and I found it quite interesting. It is good to know that I have caused people to think and I would like to discuss the facts he has presented. First, the lack of citations in his letter is telling. I would like to know the sources for his numbers as I cannot seem to substantiate most of them. If you have last week's paper or are online, you might want to refer to it.

Let us examine the election results first. I am using the 2012 Presidential Election Wikipedia entry along with the state by state results cited from the website US Election Atlas at . According to the popular vote results from 2012, President Barack Obama received 65,899,583 votes to Mitt Romney's 60,931,966 votes which is a margin of 4,967,617 votes. Obviously this does not equal 130,000,000 votes or anywhere close to it. To get to Mr. Panckeri's alleged count, we have to go back four years to the 2008 election. In those results, Obama received 69,499,428 votes to challenger John McCain's 59,950,323 votes which is a margin of 9,549,105 votes. The only way Mr. Panckeri could claim 130,000,000 votes elected Obama is to add 2008 and 2012 results together. The problem with doing that is he is double dipping and counting probably the same people twice or more realistically a percentage of the 2008 voters plus a percentage of new 2012 voters and supporters that didn't exist in 2008.

Now the first figure is a double count. The 15,000,000 vote margin is inflated because he is once again double counting the margin of difference as evidenced by actual figures in the above paragraph. I am not going to address his inflammatory view of the South, but I will point out that his numbers are manipulated there as well since if we assume he is referring to the Confederacy and we remove those states namely Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida ignoring the splits in Kansas and Missouri which were divided territories at that time, we find a vote result of Obama having 50,466,811 to Romney's 38,182,567 a difference of 12,284,244 votes which again is less than his claim. Suppose we add back in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida who did support Obama even if they are part of the "racist South" he purports, then the vote margin becomes Obama's 58,851,361 votes to Romney's 46,082,265 votes. This is only an increase in a margin of 484,852 votes.

The final number that I can provide a citation for is the average annual adjusted wage. I suspect his wage figures are coming from the Department of Labor table that shows middle class wages and claims they have dropped as measured by the value of 1982 dollars, but curiously that table uses the consumer price index as part of the calculation to determine the adjustment of the wage and show a downward trend. I have to wonder if the fact that items have been dropped from that index in that time period are reflected in the formula but I cannot find any documentation right now to confirm or decry that. One figure that is inclusive is the Social Security annual adjusted average wage index which shows that wages have grown and not fallen. He would have to cite a source for this claim in order to properly analyze his claim.

Of course we get to the meat of the argument in the next several sentences which is the thrust of his letter. Business profits have soared, the stock market is up and those taking the risks owe it to the rest of the population to share its good fortune. I have no idea where the creative 93 cents on the dollar argument originates, but let us review this. Profits are what a business makes after paying its staff and its bills. No one deserves a business' profits after they have paid the taxes and their expenses except for the owners and shareholders of the business. 100 percent of a business' profits belong to the business and not anyone else. Those of us who work for businesses agree to work for a wage and for benefits and if the company makes money after paying us who are we to complain. You chose to work for that amount. If someone feels entitled to more of the "pie" then go negotiate your wages better. Good luck.

The comments about productivity and efficiency are subjective and again with no sources I have no way to debate or respond to it effectively. Of course his comments on Romney mischaracterize capital gains by claiming it is the same as a wage which is not true and then inflames the argument by once again mixing apples and oranges by treating capital gains as if they were wages.

I could care less if there are Democrats or Republicans running this country as long as they lead and stop putting themselves first. Finally to my anonymous pal who thinks he is clever, I will respond to the one item that was not a personal slam. You should take some time and actually read what I wrote in the last ten years because you would learn that I have criticized Republicans and Democrats alike when they are wrong.

Til next time…

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