Drunk? I don’t think so

I’ve watched the Rick Perry video, and didn’t pick up so much as a hint of inebriation.

The video supposedly showing Rick Perry under the influence strikes me as showing him merely exuberant. I’m no Perry fan, but I’m calling bullsh*t.

On the other hand, “half a trillion dollars a year for tax preparation”? Where did that number come from?


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

16 thoughts on “Drunk? I don’t think so”

  1. I wouldn’t vote for him, but I’m loving him in that video. He’d have a great career as a raconteur, or even a stand-up comedian, if he ever tires of politics. The gestures and face he makes when he talks about money being printed in Washington is just priceless.

  2. He may have meant half a billion, although that would strike me as far too low. In any case, I think numbers like these, such as the billions spent on Sarbanes Oxley compliance, come from simply gathering enough of every company’s accounting/finance operation under the umbrella of what is being measured to create a huge number.

    If you assume that tax returns require that you accurately measure how much income, revenue, assets and expenses your company has, well, that’s a pretty expensive proposition in a large operation. Same goes for SarbOx, SEC regs, etc. etc.

    Sure, you need to do all these things to run your business in the first place, but measured in a vacuum any one of these can be made to look like expensive government overreach if that is the intent of the party doing the measuring.

  3. Since tax preparation expenses are deductible, the IRS could tell us what a lower bound is on the figure by looking at individual return Schedule A deductions. As I recall, Schedule A has a line devoted to tax preparation expenses.

    That lower bound could be raised appropriately by looking at the number of returns filed via preparation services without Schedule A, and multiplying by some reasonable amount.

    I would be stunned if the number came in anywhere near $5E11. That would be about 3.5% of GDP.

    1. But those are combined individual and corporate costs, Sam. How they break out matters a lot. Most of the individual costs could be avoided by a sufficiently simplified tax code (and H.R. Block, Jackson-Hewitt et al. would be out of business or nearly so). I’m less certain that the corporate side would be avoided: the people who do their taxes also do a lot of other required accounting stuff. Corporate costs would go down some, probably. How much is an open question.

      1. Jackson-Hewitt and the other tax preparers that have sprung up in the last couple of decades are mostly schemes to relieve the working poor of their money. Taxpayers eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit have J-H (or whomever) prepare their taxes, which takes about twenty minutes, for about $431, which includes a fee and interest in the “refund anticipation loan” that the customers usually sign up for, which allows them to walk out of the store with their EITC, less what amounts to about 11% of their refund. If you drive through poorer parts of town, the number of these places, side by side with check cashers, “envio dinero” outfits and payday and car title loan businesses, is staggering. See: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/04/gary-rivlin-tax-prep-refund-anticipation-loan

  4. Sounds like a cowboy putting on city clothes, cologne, and cheap gay intonations.
    Cute the way he turns up his nose at the thought of snow.
    “It was beautiful today, Mr. Major this is aaahhhsssome.”
    “You know, I mean, it’s like, kinda…”

    Great career as a raconteur?
    Gag me with a spoon.
    I’m not sure “Vally Girl” coming out of a he-man sells in Peoria.

    There is something arty-ficial going on here. This chi chi version of the Marlboro man smokes his fags with a weak wrist.
    I’m starting to think he straps himself up with holsters and pistols to because he thinks its campy.

    Well I hear tell Texas is the most polluted state in the nation.
    Have the estrogen mimickers finally caught up with Mr. Perry?

    1. I thought the same thing when I saw assorted clips the other day. The man seems to be letting his gay out of a very tight closet.
      Maybe he figures it’s do or die time and he just might as well flame on and see if that works. Gosh knows nuthin’ else is. Maybe the Log Cabin Republicans will save his sorry butt.
      And he was so close he could just taste it too.

  5. Drunk/drugged or not, he does not come across as presidential.

    He looks like he’s trying to channel GWB but got (a little) carried away. Slurring his words at times, and tripping over his tongue, adds to the “drunk” appearance. And, he looked ready to cry when they gave him the maple syrup. Can you picture him at a state dinner, or negotiating with Putin, or giving his Inaugural Address? About the only task he looks suited for is the Press Corps dinner/gag-fest.

  6. @Dennis–from context, I assume “$5E11” means half a trillion dollars, but I’m wondering why you, er, spell it that way, and what “E11” stands for. I actually Googled it and discovered that it means several dozen different things, none of them referring to tax preparation.

    Anybody else besides Dennis know what “E11” stands for, just curiously? Am I the only one who’s never seen it before?

  7. The “E11” indicates that the figure is followed by 11 decimal places (or zeros): $500,000,000,000.

    Another way to write it when superscript is not available is: $5 x 10^11.

    “E” stands for exponent, and is indicated on scientific calculators as “EE” for “enter exponent” with the “10” being assumed.

  8. Nope — he’s drunky drunk-drunk. Or stoned. Either way, I’m calling bullsh*t on your bullsh*t call.

    And no backsies.

  9. Would the speech have been worse if he was drunk, or not drunk?

    What it points to, in either case, is the real Rick Perry minus his handlers and scripted performances. He’s a little kooky. Not only in his beliefs, but in his mannerisms. Sure, he may appear in photos to be a B-movie presidential type–solid hair, solid jaw, and a Texas drawl. But in actuality, he’s a slightly effeminate, slightly goofy cowboy wannabe. Nothing wrong with that if you’re a private citizen, but Americans seem to like their presidents not so….weird.

  10. I’m not buying the drunk thing either. I like it when someone has passion and I think that’s what Perry has. At least there are no sexual rumors floating around about him,,,,yet.

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