Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Krugman's Excellent Mine Rescue

While I am doing my day job work, I have decided to post a report from Mike Davis, who is Johnny-on-the-Spot with the latest stimulus idea from Paul Krugman. Take it away, Mike!!
On August 7th, 33 Chilean miners were trapped 2300 feet underground. They were located 17 days later. The problem was – how to get them out? The Chilean Government contacted the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman for advice.

“Keynesian theory dictates that you dig a hole in the ground – a big hole - and that you keep on digging.” The Chilean Government took his advice. Finally, on the 12th of October, the trapped workers were reached and the rescue started. On learning the good news, Paul Krugman was ecstatic. “We have been waiting 75 years. Now, finally, we have an unequivocal vindication of Keynesian economic theory.” He added –“as a further bonus, Keynesian Economic Theory predicts a massive stimulus to the economy when the hole is filled in.”

Flushed with the success of this venture, Paul Krugman was asked whether he saw any domestic application. “Actually, I have already been on the phone to the governors of Kentucky and West Virginia to see if we could dig a hole and rescue workers trapped down a coal mine. Obviously, we cannot deliberately trap workers down a coal mine – we would need volunteers. So far The United Mine Workers of America will endorse the idea provided that the workers are paid extra for overtime, night shifts, and weekend in accordance with the Union Contract. They would also require paid time off for all accumulated breaks while the workers were trapped underground.

In West Virginia the governor suggested that the unemployed could volunteer to be trapped underground. “We have a growing problem with unemployment in the state. This would reduce our unemployment numbers – it is hard to claim that you are “actively looking for work” when you are trapped 2000 feet underground.”

However, this plan has run into stiff resistance from the UMWA and Democrat politicians running for re –election. A Union spokesperson said – “this is union work – all the unemployed would need to join the union.” An anonymous Democrat Congressman was quoted as saying – “kick-backs from union dues are a major source of political contributions to democrats – we are desperate – we need this money now – we don’t have much time left – we are behind in the polls – the election is only weeks away.”

Meanwhile, OSHA has been getting involved – they claim that they will need a plan and will need to review and study the plan before they can give their approval, and this will take time.

The Governor of West Virginia is furious – “our State economy is in the tank and we need this stimulus now, not later. I am going to ask President Obama to sign an Executive order to fast-track this project”.


AP Lerner said...

Not to be overly sensitive, but is this really something that should be joked about?

William L. Anderson said...

Since the miners are coming out safely, I think we can find some humor. (And I suspect the miners have a lot of jokes of their own. If you and I were trapped down there, I think we would have some jokes of our own.)

Now, had this been a situation in which a bunch of people were killed and they were digging down to what would be a mass grave, that would be different.

William L. Anderson said...

Heck, I remember when I had a kidney stone and still made jokes. (Except when the pain was at its worst. Then, in a somewhat lucid moment, I told myself that I probably WOULD talk if I were tortured.)

When I was in a cath lab six years ago getting stents (and avoiding open heart surgery), the doc and I were high-fiving and making jokes. Of course, I was on Valium at the time and probably would have made a joke had they sawed off my leg!

AP Lerner said...

Ha-ha. Good point. One of them did get engaged down there.

William L. Anderson said...

Well, good luck to him!! I've watched some of the live feed on the rescue. I understand some of those guys had to lose weight so they would fit into the rescue capsule!!

Woody said...

I'm still waiting to hear what happened with the miner who had both a wife and a mistress holding vigil for him, until they ran into each other while waiting. He might have decided to stay down there.

Anonymous said...

I gotta say as a supporter of Paul Krugman i still think it was pretty funny.

Ike said...

Well, there actually WAS an economic angle introduced today.

This morning, Bill Weir on Good Morning America went out of his way to take a shot at free markets.

"What's interesting is the President of Chile ran on a platform of 'small government, fiscal responsibility.' But in the end, government took over the rescue operations from a private company and they spent maybe upwards of a million dollars a man to save them... so sometimes politics melts in the face of universal tragedy."

Nice. It's a logical fallacy sandwich, with a non-sequitur lovingly wrapped in a shell of straw man and appeal to emotion.

The "small government" crowd doesn't complain about spending money to save people in distress... but it does get angry when we follow up with inordinate over-response, with brand new regulatory agencies, and a permanently staffed Bureau of Digging Emergency Holes.

Of course, Weir wasn't talking to anyone in Chile. He was talking to the political audience in the United States.

And he thinks we're too stupid to notice.

William L. Anderson said...

Here is an interesting take on what Ike has written, and I agree with what he has said. Furthermore, had it been simply up to Chile's government with its own resources and technology, the rescue would not have happened:

Difster said...

You haven't posted on Krugman's new article yet, but I was with him 100% of the way right up until he proposed the solution. Ugh. I knew it would go wrong somewhere. He can't ever be right and then quit while he's ahead. He's right so rarely.