Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day Special: My Role in the Jobless Recovery

I have long believed that it takes only one jerk to ruin something for everybody: the cigar smoker in a bar, the neighbor who lets his dogs bark all night, the hacker who sends out a computer virus, and so on. So it came as no surprise to me to find out that the current "jobless recovery" is the fault of just one jerk. But it was a bit of a shock to find out that the jerk is me.

Paul Krugman, professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and op-ed columnist for the New York Times, was the first person to recognize that our economy's frustratingly weak job market could be attributable to my being a jerk. "He [me] is almost impossible to reach because his apartment is in a cell-phone dead zone, and he refuses to get a land line" Mr. Krugman opined. "This alone," he added, "has cost 10,000 manufacturing jobs in the Midwest."

Almost immediately after that editorial hit the stands, the press ran with the story. James K. Galbraith wrote, "He [me] is such a know-it-all…15,000 textile jobs gone." The Economist ran an article detailing how my insistence that the Beatles are underrated led to the loss of 67,000 jobs in the steel industry. And USA Today ran a pie chart showing that my habit of correcting people's grammar was the single biggest obstacle to job creation.

And it wasn't just the press: Greg Mankiw, the former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said, "I'm on record as stating offshore outsourcing is a 'good thing' and 'just a new way to do international trade.' But for that to be true, he [me] needs to stop monopolizing conversations at dinner parties. Then the positive effects of outsourcing could be seen." Former Treasury Secretary O'Neill said in an interview that even though President Obama is not doing everything that could be done, "things would not be so bad if he [me] would pay for dinner just once."

I can't quite figure out how I'm having such a big effect on the jobs market, but these people know a lot more about economics than I do, so I'm just going to have to take their word for it that I'm the jerk.

I sincerely apologize, Happy Labor Day.


Terry Weadock said...

Too funny. I needed the laugh


Ben said...

HA! Good one! How could you possibly say the Beatles are underrated? According to Chuck Klosterman, they are "rated."