As the recession dragged on over the past several years, jokes proliferated about outon-their-ear economists-who generally failed to anticipate the depths of the slowdown. An example: “What do you say to an economist with a job? Big Mac and fries, please.”
And old stories continue to circulate, including one about economist John Kenneth Galbraith and L.B.J. When Galbraith delivered to L.B.J. what he thought was a wonderful speech outlining the state of the economy, the president failed to respond with much enthusiasm. “Don’t you think it’s a good speech?” Galbraith asked. L.B.J. replied that writing a speech about the economy was like “pissing down your leg. It feels real good to you but doesn’t do a damn thing for anyone else.”
Perhaps what Johnson had in mind was a precursor of Ronald Reagan’s now-famous trickle-down theory.
ETA: THIS LIFE OR NEXT?
We recently asked travelers to tell us their tales of obstructive airlines. None of the stories we received matched the drama of a Virgin Atlantic flight to
Michael Walsh, group finance director of public relations consultants Dewe Rogerson, who was on the flight, says passengers boarded the aircraft but were told take-off would be delayed while deicing took place. Then they were told a navigation instrument was faulty.
Passengers asked for something to eat and drink, but were told they had to be ready to take off at any time. They were not given anything to eat until after . At , the captain announced that the flight had been canceled.
They were taken to a hotel in
Walsh was then told he had been hooked on a flight leaving JFK at on Sunday. He arrived home in
Peter Tray, owner of a
Spotting a BEA aircraft on the tarmac, the nine passengers concerned found an airline representative and demanded to he flown home. Tray recalls: “He could only splutter: ‘But you can’t possibly expect me to authorize an aircraft for just nine passengers.’ In the best pantomime tradition, we all chorused: ‘Oh, yes, we can.’”
If he didn’t, they told him, they would debag him. They were flown home. Those were the days.
—–Michael Skapinker, Financial Times
THE HIGH PRICE OF GAS
Martin Gross is mad as hell. Almost two years studying the federal budget, and he still can’t believe his bloodshot eyes: $19 million to examine gas emissions from cow flatulence? Some $107,000 to study the sex life of the Japanese quail? And $57,000 for gold-embossed playing cards on Air Force One?
These outrageous expenses are detailed in Gross’ book, “The Government Racket, Washington Waste from A to Z,” along with a number of others, including: $3 billion for 1,300 private government planes-200 of which could not be accounted for; $1 billion to buy unwanted honey from beekeepers; $500,000 to build a replica of Egypt’s Great Pyramid in Indiana; $160,000 to study whether an opponent can be hexed by drawing an X on his or her chest; $150,000 to study the Hatfield-McCoy feud; $144,000 to see if pigeons follow human economic laws; and an undisclosed amount to study the cause of rudeness on tennis courts and smiling patterns in bowling alleys.
——-J.D. Podolsky and Jane Sugden, People
Another installment from P.J. O’Rourke’s American Spectator article, “100 Reasons Why Jimmy Carter Was a Better President Than Bill Clinton”:
COMPARE AND CONTRAST PART II
Mork and Mindy Mary Matalin and James Carville
Laverne and Shirley Cokie Roberts and Anna Quindlen
Three’s Company Gennifer Flowers
Happy Days 1980-1992
Star Wars Base closings
Annie Hall Anita Hill
The Goodbye Girl Kimba Wood
Express Bus trips
La Cage Aux FoIles The Marines
Abbie Hoffman Socks the cat