Re: Wasting Our Money To Justify Wasting Our Money

Neal Boorz has more comments on the Obama Administration wasting $20 million on spendul0us signs “designed to be ‘a symbol of President Obama’s commitment to the American people to invest their tax dollars wisely and put Americans back to work.'”  Neal comments:

“Yeah, putting America back to work painting signs that say we’re putting America back to work. That probably works for the average Democrat voter. But not for me.”

This reminds me of a joke/story told about the Soviet Union that I heard back in the in the 1980s as a political science undergraduate.  I have no idea if the anecdote is true, and I will probably butcher the details, but neither really matters:

One day, a reporter was visiting Moscow and checked into a modern ten-story hotel.  Upon entering the elevator in the lobby, the reporter advised the elevator attendant that he was staying on the ninth floor. 

The attendant pressed the “5” button, the doors closed, and the elevator began to rise.  The puzzled reporter told the attendant again that he was staying on the ninth floor, and the attendant just smiled. 

The elevator stopped at the fifth floor, and the attendant got off.  Another attendant then entered the elevator and asked which floor the reporter needed.  The reporter responded that he was staying on the ninth floor, the new attendant pushed the “9” button, and off they went. 

To understand the story, one must remember that communism promised full employment and that the Soviets liked to brag about their unemployment rate of virtually zero as part of the overall competition for superiority between the West and the Eastern Block.  So the Soviets put people to work by having an attendant for floors 1-5, and another for floors 5-10. 

Decades later, we cure unemployment by hiring one set of people to do construction, and another group to paint signs saying we are putting the first back to work.

Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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