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Mitch Daniels' ode to learning to treasure your husband's mistress  By William K. Black

Cead mile failte romhat - one hundred thousand greetings to you from Dublin. My UMKC economics department colleague and I are presenting ideas on how Ireland could respond to its banking, budget, and financial crises.

This is the second part of my series of articles on benefit-cost analysis, prompted by a discussion at CIFA's recent ninth annual meeting in Monaco. This part focuses on the logic employed by the nation's leading advocate of requiring benefit-cost tests before allowing any regulatory actions. Governor Daniels (R. Indiana) previously served as President Bush's Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In 2002, OMB Director Daniels explained to a Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) audience why formal benefit-cost analyses by OMB mirrored "everyday life."

   "We need to remind people, that cost benefit analysis is part of everyday life. Perhaps you've heard of the couple out dining one evening, when a lovely, much younger lady passed by the table and visibly winked at the husband. His wife, not missing a thing, said, "Who was that?" After some hemming and hawing, he finally confesses: it's his mistress. She said, "That's it! I always feared and suspected. It's over, I want a divorce." "Now dear, not so fast. You [do] realize if that happens, no more diamonds on your birthday, fewer of those shopping trips to New York, what about the country club charge account?" About that time, another couple passed by and she said, "Isn't that your friend Jim from the office?" He said, "Yes." "Well who's that young woman with him?" "Well, that's Jim's mistress." She says, "Aha! Ours is prettier." [laughter]"

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., Competitive Enterprise Institute Speech, 05/22/2002

Again, one cannot compete with unintentional self-parody. Daniels chose a metaphor to defend benefit-cost tests that lays bare many of the worst aspects of formal benefit-cost tests by economists. Daniels delights in his tale of how an unfaithful, rich, powerful, and older man cheats on his wife, humiliates her in public, and essentially prostitutes his wife and his mistress. Perhaps the worst aspect - and here Daniels is simultaneously acute and clueless - is the wife's use of the word "ours." When elites use their dominant power to exploit and corrupt less powerful people they also seek to impose a false construct on their victims that makes them appear to be beneficiaries rather than victims. The macho male meme is that his domineering control of his wife's life and decisions constitutes "protecting" his wife. She is supposed to perceive and express a debt of gratitude rather than resentment to her oppressor.

More at the site.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 11:17:53 PM EST
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