Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fibonacci Republican Policy

Republicans politicians figuratively favor an economic system in which our (but not their) efforts are paid off under a variable ratio reward schedule composed of randomly arranged numbers from the Fibonacci series. For non-Behavior Analysts, in a typical VR 5 schedule, the numbers 1,2, 3, etc. to 10 would be scrambled up randomly so you never now how much work you’re going to have to do for the next payoff (or reinforcement occurs), but on average it would be five responses.  Leonard Fibonacci was a 12th century mathematician who discovered this phenomenon of rapidly escalating numerical values while sipping grappe and contemplating his navel in the shade of a Cypress Tree protecting him from Tuscan sun.

According to my version of the Republican Fibonacci Series plan, with each passing year of one’s life, an additional number corresponding to the sum of the two preceding numbers in the sequence becomes an additional value making up the average amount of work imposed upon a person before being rewarded.  By the time one reaches 40 years of age, suddenly the value corresponding to 102,334,155 responses becomes part of the sequence of numbers (up from 63,245,986 the previous year), making up the average amount of work that we face, which is really a stinker.  But then you already know that.  You probably thought you were no longer being rewarded for your efforts, but “fortunately” you only have 102,334,154 responses to go, i.e. pairs of shoes to sell, hotel rooms to clean, driveways to shovel, etc. the kind of work lots of Americans do. One of the reasons Republicans hate unions is that smart employees insist on having some say in these pay off schedules.  If you’re a Republican politician, on the other hand, their average Fibonacci value never exceeds that of a five or six-year old, or 8-13 responses until the next pay off…golden spoon in the mouth, and all of that, don’t you know.

This recursive property of numbers is the basis for the old trick your math teacher pulled on you in school. She said, “Which would you rather have, one penny on day, plus two pennies on day two, plus three pennies on day three and so on for 30 days, or $100? Kids nearly always pick $100, but they would better off taking the recursive penny sequence that totals $35,245.76 at the end of a month.

Related are the consequences of tax cuts as a function of income level.  If the size of tax cuts remain the same, but income increases, the absolute amount of money balloons at incomes above $500,000 (see enclosed graph from Rachel Maddow comparing tax cuts proposed by Democrats and Republicans. Now you see why the Right Wing in Congress so strongly favor keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich.  It makes them a lot richer and has limited advantage for the rest of us and has devastating effects on the budget deficit.

During the earlier budget fiasco, the last time Barrack Obama caved in, he said, that never again would he allow continuation of the Bush Tax cuts for the rich… that is until next time, now.

If you find this stuff about the Fibonacci sequence confusing you can read more about it at\

By the way, I'm aware most Republicans have never heard of Leonard Fibonacci but they are thoroughly familiar with the concept of imposing outrageous escallating work demands upon American workers nonetheless, as well as the tax advantage of rapidly escalating values at higher incomes.

See also: J R MIllenson (1963) Random interval schedules of reinforcement. J. Exp. Anal. Behavior 6: 437-43

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