Rumors are spreading this a.m. that the reality-based number cruncher at the New York Times, Nate Silver, may soon be appointed to a high position in the Obama Administration.**
Silver successfully humiliated the entire D.C. center-right pundit class and Fox News by nailing the polling and the high probability of an Obama election victory by looking at and understanding what polling numbers actually mean. He may now be picked to replace Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner or become head of the White House Office of Management and Budget or some other high advisory position where his skills are sadly missing.
While the White House has made no official announcement, several sources with close ties to the Administration confirmed the matter is under discussion.
“It would vastly improve America’s policies and help restore the economy if the White House began listening to someone with a proven track record and who actually uses and understands facts and numerical relationships, instead of discredited dogma,” a White House adviser who asked for anonymity remarked. “This would be especially good for the economy and the role actual facts, proven mathematical relationships, economic experience, and a commitment to rationality play in setting policies to improve employment, reduce inequality, which has continued it’s 40 year slide over the last four years, supporting growth and creating fairness in the tax code.
Silver is now acknowledged, even among a few Serious People, to have the ability and courage to use actual facts and numbers to predict the probability of events, and not being afraid to express them. These are skills several White House friends saw as noticeably missing in Mr. Obama’s first term and lacking among his key economic and political advisers. They cited several areas in which Silver’s type of reality-based predictions could benefit the country and help frame a more beneficial agenda for the President and Congress over the next few years. For example:
- Silver would likely note that a policy of austerity, as currently advocated by both parties and the White House, particularly one focused on significant cuts in government domestic spending when the economy was still recovering, would have a high probability, likely 95.4%, of increasing unemployment and reducing GDP while stripping valuable services and needed investments from the federal budget .
- Silver could read and understand the relevant, fact-based analyses/studies that show that reducing taxes on the rich would just increase the economic and political power of the extremely wealthy to the detriment of the middle class and poor, thus worsening inequality, slowing growth and undermining democratic principles. Probability: about 97.3 %.
- He would also predict, with 84.7% confidence, that raising taxes on the very wealthy would have virtually no adverse effect on the economy, since all the claims they are the “job creators” driving the economy was just dogma.