Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Heisenberg Budget Principle

Watching Congress turn sirloin into (bad) hamburger during the recent borrowing limit debate/debacle, I realized that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle translates somewhat cleanly from particle physics to political economics:
The difference of two numbers can simultaneously have both positive and negative sign, depending on the position of the viewer (left or right side of the aisle).
I don't think this actually works in the real universe, but in the bubble universe of Washington D.C. it appears to hold.

Edit: I confess that I suck at physics. This probably is a manifestation of Einstein's special relativity rather than Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. First, it's not the act of observing the difference from a particular vantage point that makes it positive or negative; it's the location of the observer (and/or the observer's velocity toward the extreme of his/her party's ideology). Second, there is no uncertainty involved: one party is absolute, irrefutably certain the difference is positive; and the other party is equally certain the difference is negative. To admit a grain of doubt is to cause your party's bubble universe to collapse noisily and, worse still, to concede the possibility the other guys are right (this once).

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