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A Conversation Between Paul Ryan and His Math Teacher

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SFX: The phone rings and an old man answers.

Ryan: Hello Mr. Addison, it's Paul Ryan here. You taught me at high school back in the 1980s, sir.

Math Teacher: Ah, Ryan, how the heck are you? Is your math any better?

Ryan: Well sir that's partly why I'm calling. You see, I've created a budget that could help Mitt Romney win the presidency and a lot of folks are saying I haven't done the arithmetic right.

Math Teacher: That's embarrassing.

Ryan: Trust me, it is -- particularly as I'm meant to be the math genius in the Tea Party!! (Er, I mean the Republican Party!!)

Math Teacher: Well Ryan, I am of course prepared to take a look at it for you -- especially as I can still remember how hard you worked to get 100 out of 800 on the math section of the SATs.

Ryan: Thanks sir. Appreciate it.

Math Teacher: So let's start with the basics.

Ryan: OK. 1 + 1 = 2, 2 + 2 = 4, 3 + 3 = er, 6??

Math Teacher: Not that basic Ryan!! Just tell me, what do people think is the basic problem with your budget?

Ryan: Well sir, I'm not entirely sure. You see I've subtracted out the cost of programs that help the poor and the middle class...

Teacher: Yes...

Ryan: Then I subtracted out the cost of programs that help millions of women and students too...

Teacher: Ah huh...

Ryan: And because I wanted to be totally fair to all Americans, I even subtracted out a ton of programs that help senior citizens! Trust me, Medicare is going to be almost completely subtracted and then contracted out in my budget!! I thought that was a HUGE plus!

Teacher: Er no Ryan, it's a minus.

Ryan: It is??

Teacher: Yes it is. Seriously son, given the country's finances, you need to subtract costs AND add revenue if you really want to balance the budget.

Ryan: Dang, I never thought of that sir. Light bulb going off on this end of the phone, that's for sure.

Teacher: So is there any way you can add some dollars back into your spreadsheet? I mean those tax cuts for the rich are due to expire at the end of the year. If you don't extend them, you can add billions back in!

Ryan: Er, no, I can't do that. I would hate to divide those rich folks from everyone else in the country. The rich need money too you know.

Teacher: OK, well, how about closing some of the loopholes that big billion dollar corporations use to avoid paying tax? That will generate a humongous amount of money that you can add back into your budget.

Ryan: Er, that's a no go too. As you know, the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case, that corporations are people too, and we Republicans would hate to take money out of the mouths of our poor corporate people. I mean, how unfair would that be??

Teacher: Well, would you consider a good old cut in defense spending at all? Even a moderate cut would put trillions into your plus column!! As in, trillions Ryan!!

Ryan: That's a non-starter too, sir. Our party still believes that we need to be able to destroy a gnat with the full force of a multi-gazillion dollar military, so out of total respect to gnats, we want to keep as much of our military in place as possible.

Teacher: That's a mathematical shame, Ryan.

Ryan: But sir, I just want to divide up the GDP in a way that's loved by the G.O.P!!

Teacher: I know but your reluctance to add significant revenue is simply going to increase the deficit and multiply the country's financial problems.

Ryan: It is??

Teacher: It is!!

Ryan: Darn! Crap! Bummer!

Teacher: And what's more, your miscalculations may lead people to conclude that voting for a Romney-Ryan ticket simply doesn't add up.

Ryan: Darn, crap and bummer times two!! Look sir, election day is looming so I really need to get my sums right on this budget. Is there anything else you can suggest that could help me do that? Anything at all???

Teacher: Only one thing, Ryan. A quick crash course in the basics. So let's get going here. 1+ 1 = 2, 2 + 2 = 4, 3 + 3 = 6...