… A pathetic aesthetic in a world less poetic:
A whole bunch of smart folks tell Federal Reserve
Ben Bernanke that he's dumb. That's gotta sting.
Mickey Kaus agrees
with me about the validity
of Senator-elect Rand Paul's assertion that the "average federal employee
makes $120,000 a year." And he notes why this talking point
is getting decent resonance with the Joes and Janes in the private
When people are outraged at the $120,000 figure, I think, they aren't making an implicit apples-to-oranges comparison. They're making an apples-to-themselves comparison. They know what they do and what they're making. They have a pretty good, rough idea of what federal employees do (some are highly skilled doctors, some are equal opportunity compliance facilitators). They know that they themselves have had to take pay freezes and cuts and endure waves of corporate downsizing while the federal government hasn't been through anything like that. In fact, pay for individual federal workers has kept growing each year thanks to both cost-of-living raises and "step" increases. The federal pay escalator kept on running right through the recesssion. Meanwhile, federal workers enjoy job security they can only dream of.Mickey also notes the eerie convergence between "refutations" issued by the allegedly-objective Politifact and the hyperpartisan Media Matters. Politifact is a joke; they should change their name to Media Matters Echo Chamber.
I kind of like typing "Senator-elect Rand Paul".
A number of economists had fun with the New York Times
balancing game I noted yesterday: Steven
Henderson. I especially like this from Henderson:
Here's a prediction: if the New York Times keeps this game up on its site, a whole lot of people are going to be more sympathetic to cutting government and more optimistic that it can be done. One of my objections to Tea Partiers is how uninformed some of them are about the numbers. Now, thanks to the New York Times, they don't have to be.Here's hoping. Greg Mankiw's comment on the game is—ouch!—on target:
It takes about a minute. Persuading your fellow citizens may take a bit longer.
If you've been tempted to use the "cyber-" prefix, but have concerns
that it will make you look like an idiot, wallow not in uncertainty: