Sunday, March 25, 2012

Putting Smiley Faces on the Zeroes...

The cartoon at right appeared in this weekend's Wall Street Journal.

I think the cartoonist was imagining a business setting when he drew that.  But what came to my mind was our government bureaucracies – not the elected officials, but the hordes of appointed bureaucrats that run our vast government enterprises.  Putting smiley faces on the zeroes is exactly what they do every day as they find ways to put lipstick on the pigs – the many metrics that we use to measure what those bureaucrats are (allegedly) responsible for.

Consider the unemployment rate numbers, for example.  Over the years, the bureaucracy has repeatedly modified the number they feed to the news media to make it look artificially low.  To just about anyone not involved in the bureaucracy, it's rather obvious that a person is still unemployed even if they've completely given up on finding a job.  In fact, you might reasonably say that such a person is especially unemployed.  But our bureaucracy has defined them out of the unemployment rate, and their unemployment is not counted in the number they feed to the press.  That's but one of many, many examples of this stock-in-trade “trick” of the bureaucracy.

They're putting smiley faces on the zeros.

Remember that when you vote in November!

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