The poetry of politicians: Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s attempt

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So Donald Rumsfeld made his famous poetry which according to BBC was:

there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

From a statistics point of view the distinction between the three types makes sense: Known knows are fixed parameters in a statistical model, known unknowns are parameters to be estimated while unknown unknowns are confounds that enter the model as ‘noise’. In most cases you hope this noise has a reasonable statistical distribution (e.g., Gaussian and not a black-swan-distribution) and not too correlated with the parameters in the statistical model you are about to estimate.

Now I hear through Mikkel Wallentin that our Danish Minister of State (Prime Minister) Lars Løkke Rasmussen has made an attempt to follow Rumsfeld in the repeated pattern politician poetry in a discussion about tax. A diligent person has put it on YouTube, and my transcription is:

Så har vi altså valgt at lave et system hvor man skal aflevere lidt mindre end man gjorde får. Det er det vi har valgt, og det fører selvfølgelig til at dem der tjener mere og afleverer meget og nu afleverer lidt mindre – ja – de afleverer så mere mindre end dem der tjener lidt mindre og afleverer mindre men altså så afleverer mindre mindre.

With some loss in translation my attempt on an English version is:

So we have thus chosen to make a system where you must hand in a bit less than you did before. It is what we have chosen, and of course it leads to that those who earns more and hand in a lot and now hand in a bit less – well – they hand in more less than those who earns a bit less and hand in less and thus hand in less less.

I don’t think it was a prepared speech. It seems to lack the epistemological depth of Rumsfeld – and perhaps even logic. But humorous it is, which also Lars Løkke himself seems to realize from around 0:19 in the video.


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