Today in Wishful Thinking: Fox Business News ran this tantalizing headline yesterday: “Analyst Sees Chance of Obama Resignation.” And by golly, there is nothing at all untrue about it! They found a Wall Street investment analyst who has “27 years of experience in the securities industry” and based on his excellent science, he figures there’s no more than a 90% chance that Obama will see out the rest of his term:
“If ObamaCare is the fiasco that some headlines are suggesting it is, I place the odds around 10% the president will resign before next November’s election,” said Kent Engelke, managing director at the brokerage Capitol Securities Management.
We bet there’s some seriously complex calculations that went into that precise determination, seeing as how this is a financial wizard what makes a living carefully weighing all the possible factors involved in a stock’s performance? He probably has a complex formula that accounts for all kinds of variables, and maybe he even consulted the entrails of a chicken (one that had been fucked to death by Todd Starnes). Let’s see what arcane factors went into his precise estimate!
Engelke … says he got the 10% number from a simple calculation: 7% of all U.S. presidents faced impeachment or resignation (Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, while President Nixon resigned). He adds in another 3% due to the heightened animosity between president Obama and Republicans in congress.
Wow! Don’t you want to invest all your money with that number genius?
We promise not to get all algebraic on you — our own math expertise extends only so far as vaguely recognizing that there are math jokes in The Simpsons — but dividing 3 by 44 to get 7% (rounded up a bit) is not the same as saying that “any president has a 7% chance of resigning,” regardless of whether you add a magic 3 for “doesn’t play well with Congress.” For one thing, that 7% disregards the political survival of Johnson and Clinton — maybe you could make some kind of meaningful statement about the fact that 1 out of 44 (2%) of Presidents have actually resigned. But maybe you’d want to include the fact that 100% of impeached presidents have survived the attempt to force them from office. But even then… It’s just that… Ow. Head hurts.
Anyway, the article has a lot of other words in it, including a whole bunch more information about how successful Kent Engelke has been in his investment career, despite this demonstration of his utter incompetence in doing math. There’s also a teensy little paragraph where another “Veteran Wall Street analyst” calls Engelke’s prediction “far too simplistic,” which may have been the most diplomatic thing he could bring himself to say. Also a mention that Engelke is a frequent guest on Fox Business Network, which should do boatloads of good for the credibility of both.
Based on the indisputable fact that two people at MSNBC have lost their jobs for saying stupid things, divided by the 24-hour news cycle, multiplied by the 10 seconds we spent in slack-jawed astonishment at Engelke’s analysis, we predict that there is an 80% chance that someone on Fox Business Network will say something incredibly stupid again by this time tomorrow.Related