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To sit a good, honest cubicle

Any of you punched a real, live timeclock like the one above? I have. Well, not like the one above — a bit more modern — but my Dunkin’ Donuts gig involved paper timecards and a timeclock. Also brown paper pay packets with paper money and coins shoved in, and the itemized sums written on the back in ballpoint pen.

I loved that stupid job. But I digress.

I have been trying to digest this Krugman article in the NY Times about the Tea Party movement. Sooper genius Krugman has worked it out: the Tea Partiers think the GOP is about helping people, but it’s really about helping corporations.

The mood on the right may be populist, but it’s a kind of populism that’s remarkably sympathetic to big corporations.

What the fuck does Krugman think corporations are made out of? Gremlins? Orcs? Delicious cream filling?

Krugman apparently imprinted on It’s a Wonderful Life. He thinks the world outside The Bubble consists of hard workin’ Joes who drive trucks, dig trenches and stock shelves in mom and pop drugstores. That’s what the whole Democrat machine evolved to pander to: the scary populist monster prowling around outside the ivory tower.

In reality, most of us have had jobs like that, before we moved on to something like…I dunno…a corporation.

I spent a miserable hour at the Bureau of Labor Statistics trying to work out how many of us work for corporations, but gave it up as hopelessly hard to define. Whatever. I’m willing to assert, whether you sit in a cubicle or not, the health of corporations is intimately bound up in the prosperity of us all.

Oh, look…I know management can be shitbags. It burns me up the way some of the guys at the top reward themselves WAY out of proportion to any contribution they could possibly make to the company. It’s just plain bad capitalism, that is.

But corporations employ millions of us, and that’s where most of their money goes. And to shareholders — who are also overwhelmingly made up of people like us. And to growth, which is where jobs come from.

I worked for a medium-sized corporation for a quarter of a century. Here’s how the math went: the company had a good year, I got a bonus in January. The company had a bad year, my boss was invited to look around and decide which two of us he could live without.

Okay, I know small, scrappy businesses are the true engines of growth. But the Blue Chips are the lumbering dray horses of our mutual prosperity. How can a fucking Nobel-winning economist think punishing corporations is a good thing?


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 26, 2010, 1:11 am

Stoatie, did you hear about the Donkey that was blown up in Gaza today? Someone loaded 200KG of TNT into a cart and had the donkey pull it toward the fence, then blew it up.

I’m thinking honor Killing. Some poor farmer caught some Hamas creeps doing something nasty to the poor think, and he had to blow it up to save the poor things reputation…..

Comment from nbpundit
Time: May 26, 2010, 2:22 am

I’ve used a time clock that looked closely like the one in your photo stoaty.
/oldern dirt

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 26, 2010, 2:38 am

Damn, I really know how to shut down a conversation……

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: May 26, 2010, 2:55 am

Time clock?

Yeah, when I was a teen circe 1970.

Had a passbook savings account, too.

Comment from Roman Wolf
Time: May 26, 2010, 3:03 am

How can a Nobel prize winning economist think this? Because he’s a fucking Keynesian moron who lives in the land of unicorns and elves(academia).

Just like how can a guy end up as the editor of the Hahvahd law review and never write an article? How can someone who never did a real job in his life end up as “the leader of the free world”?

Edit: And I never have even seen a time card thingy in real life.

Comment from porknbean
Time: May 26, 2010, 3:11 am

How can a fucking Nobel-winning economist think punishing corporations is a good thing?

The answer is in your question.

Carter, Arafat, Gore…..

Comment from porknbean
Time: May 26, 2010, 3:14 am

Too lazy to go look it up, but I thought I read somewheres that Keynes was some serious freaky-deaky, if you know what I mean.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: May 26, 2010, 4:27 am

The basic rule is “git thuh munny.”

A Corporation is a deputy Government, having for all practical purposes the same structure and imperatives, but lacking an Army (though that rule has been waived in the past). The function of a Corporation is to extend the taxing power. The King couldn’t tax Russians — but the Company of Friends could sell things to Russians at a profit, and the King could tax the Company, so Russians ended up paying for the King’s bar bill. But in return for setting it up that way, the Company required the King to tax only the Company and not the individuals that made it up — and that detail turned out to be tremendously useful when it started being necessary to accumulate capital to finance the Industrial Revolution.

The problem with capital is that it’s right there in front of you, but you can’t do anything with it. The capital is the factory; if you take it away, there’s no factory and no industrial production. This hits Progressives where they live. You gotta gimme thuh munny so’s I kin Do Good widdit! That’s where Krugman sits. Like all Progressives, he’s been burned a couple of times, so he works his butt off trying to find a way to git thuh munny while keeping the factory and its production. It can’t be done, so they get shrill and stupid trying to Jesuit a way out of the contradiction.


Comment from Gromulin
Time: May 26, 2010, 4:45 am

I spent a year and a half, on graveyard, with one golden rule – On the clock: On the dock. It was damned cold at 3AM loading those trucks, but if you were punched in, you’d better be loading freight. Thats where I picked up the term ‘assholes and elbows’…as in that’s all the boss wants to see of you once you clock in.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 26, 2010, 6:15 am

I agree with Weasel up to a point.

If I weren’t working from home due to my illness, I’d be punching in like the rest of my colleagues. And I’m at senior grade within the company. I still have to shake a leg on time, and make sure the people that pay my salary see it shaking, to make a living. Rule is: you clock on at 0800, you clock off at 1700+, where the ‘plus’ is up to you. ‘Plus’ today is about 7 hours, for which I will be uncompensated. If I work Saturday or Sunday, no-one gives a shit. If I wake up at three a.m. and start coding because I’ve had a brainwave, no-one gives a shit. Them’s the breaks.

Krugman is a hypocritical liar. Where ‘favourable for corporations’ and ‘favourable for the commonwealth’ may be divergent is in exactly the rent-seeking business structures that corporatist/fascist Obama-lovers like Krugman have a hard-on for. There’s a persistent urban myth that the CEO of GM said, “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.” Even if the sentiment were true at one point, it’s for damn sure not the case anymore. And I defy you to find a tea-partier who believes Obama’s gifting of GM to the UAW rather than letting the whole Neanderthal edifice go bust was in his (the tea-partier’s) best interests.

Krugman’s not even inventing a straw man here. He’s dishonestly damning that which none of his opponents believes, and everyone on his side does believe: that comprehensive government involvement in business is a good thing. That sort of Janus-faced hypocrisy is, of course, nothing new when it comes to Leftist mendacity. Both the major political parties in the US are far, far too beholden to big corporate concerns, but a cursory spot of Googling will tell you with which party the major players are in bed. It’s a myth the Democrats are anti-business. They’re just anti-small to medium business. Big corporations love government. It’s a barrier to entry for their competitors. So it costs $75 an hour to comply with Obamacare’s new filing requirements for sub-contractors. If you’re Pepperidge Farms, you shrug and get on with it. If you’re the corner bakery you lay off employees or shut up shop.

Fool or knave: which is Krugman?

Comment from Mike C.
Time: May 26, 2010, 8:00 am

Oh, it’s worse than portrayed. Krugman either doesn’t recognize or is unwilling to admit that his progressive buddies aren’t anti-corporatists, they’re corporate statists. The pre-pick the winners and losers, tailor regulations to esconce their chosen winners, and take treasure baths in all the juicy campaign contribution money.

Fascist Germany and Italy worked that way. “Too big to fail”, anybody ?

Comment from Nicole
Time: May 26, 2010, 1:07 pm

David is quite right. I used to think that all CEO’s and VP’s and such were greedy fat cats who are paid far out of proportion to what they do. Then the hub started getting promoted and taking on more responsibility. Now, after 2 straight years of 60-80 hour weeks, with phone calls at 3am from around the world, I get why these folks make the big bucks – especially in the IT world. They are all on salary. Which means no overtime. Those hours over 40 are all expected and at no extra compensation over salary. All the stress and anxiety they eat due to multi-million dollar contracts being on the line and by extension, the jobs of those who do make overtime and who punch a clock – I don’t begrudge them their earnings so much anymore.

Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: May 26, 2010, 1:29 pm

How can a fucking Nobel-winning economist think punishing corporations is a good thing?

I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.

All “Nobel-winning economist” means is “Hey, this guy couched his incomprehensible bullshit in such counterintuitive phraseology that we *have* to give him a Nobel just to make it look like we’re intelligent enough to comprehend his bullshit.”

Trying to make sense of Paul Krugman’s economics is like trying to make sense of Bernard-Henri Levy’s philosophy.

Oh, yeah — punched a timeclock *exactly* like the one pictured and got paid in one of those little manila pay envelopes, too. The good ol’ days of my mis-spent yoot’ — tending bar at age 16…

Comment from Lissa
Time: May 26, 2010, 1:32 pm

What the fuck does Krugman think corporations are made out of? Gremlins? Orcs? Delicious cream filling?

I think I love you.

Comment from Randy Rager
Time: May 26, 2010, 1:51 pm

I punched a clock as a cleanup boy in the local Ford dealership garage back in ’86-’87. Did it some more during my next three years in various work-study programs at NSU in Tahlequah, where I double majored in Sex and Booze with a minor in Failing Out Of College.

By the time I got out of the Air Force in 2000, well, that sort of time clock was decidedly out of vogue. These days it’s all bar coded name badges and bar code scanners hooked directly into the payroll computer.

Comment from Scott Jacobs
Time: May 26, 2010, 4:38 pm

How can a fucking Nobel-winning economist think punishing corporations is a good thing?

Quite simply, because he is a complete and utter moron.

I guess the Nobel Prize grades on a curve.

As an aside, I would sell family members if it meant I could get hired into a corporation – more than that, I wanna work at the evil empire known as MS…

Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 26, 2010, 4:54 pm

Blind dead drunk and passed out on my living room floor, I am a better economist than Krugman.

So, for that matter, is anyone that understands that any business enterprise is made up of people and that it is their contributions on behalf of themselves that make prosperity possible for everyone.

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 26, 2010, 5:18 pm

Wish my husband had a ‘real’ time clock. He works so many hours off the clock it’s truly criminal since he has to have work codes to put on his time card and if the project is out of money… gee, guess who gets to work free. Then to top it all off he travels on his day off (he gets every other friday off) so looses his day off and there is nothing they will do to get it back for him, no comp time, nothing. We’re left with saying, “at least he has a job.”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 26, 2010, 5:19 pm

It’s the scale of the thing, Nicole. I don’t generally go in for envy and class warfare, but I saw a significant shift during my career. The rule of thumb I remember reading is something like…when I started my working life, the guy at the top made about 45 times what the guy at the bottom made. Now it’s more like 450 times.

Which is one thing if the guy at the top built the business. But we’re often talking about Harvard MBA’s who’ve never had a real job in their lives, parachuting in, fucking up companies, and golden parachuting out again.

The way it’s supposed to work, the shareholders would be all, like, no way you are worth that kind money — hit the road, jack. But these days, shareholders are funds and collectives. Not so much individuals invested in the long-term health of a company.

I don’t mean to sound like an anti-corporatist. It’s just, we’ve been practicing a pretty warped form of capitalism for a while.

As an aside — to give you an idea what I’m hinting at — did you know the Harvard business program does not have a module on sales? You can go all the way through and out the other end and not have a fucking clue about one of the most important aspects of a business.

Comment from Nicole
Time: May 26, 2010, 5:24 pm

Oh, I get it Miz Weasel. I wasn’t really disagreeing with you – I know you are talking about a far grander scale here. And I know you aren’t anti-corp/capitalism. 🙂 The folks paid so much without a clue but with a supposedly important degree in their sweaty lil paws deserve to be out on their keisters. Also quite a diff if they fuck things up while they are there. Seagulls shouldn’t get golden parachutes.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: May 26, 2010, 8:51 pm

Which is why we need to let these businesses fail. Amazing what a pine-board-upside-the-head the danger of BK is.

Comment from Schlippy
Time: May 26, 2010, 9:30 pm

Yeeehp. Had a timeclock like that when I worked as a dishwasher / prep cook at one of the local tourist traps.

Comment from Allen
Time: May 26, 2010, 10:33 pm

I’m just wondering if Krugman has ever had any meaningful interaction with the real world. Of course corporations do some bad things, they’re a human activity.

I have done a lot of consulting work for many large corporations over the years. Let’s sum up, I’ve been lied to, cheated, had intellectual property stolen, stiffed on bills, and in general had every fuckover possible. Hey Paul, it’s what humans do to each other, ya silly twit.

They have also payed me handsomely for my time and abilities. In fact they have provided some of the most creative challenges I have ever faced in my whole professional career.

As an aside, part of my business is building prototype down hole well tools for several oil companies. If BP doesn’t get it with this next try, we are so screwed.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: May 27, 2010, 3:20 am

I’ve said elsewhere: If the flak gets too heavy, the president of BP needs to lean back, smile, and say calmly, “OK, we’re so stupid and you’re so smart. What are your orders?”


Pingback from Quote of the day « Peter Risdon
Time: May 27, 2010, 11:12 am

[…] Here. ← Statistician joke […]

Comment from JC
Time: May 28, 2010, 3:05 am

Yeah, I remember the goddamn thing. I was the poor dumb sonofabitch that had to fix it, too. Come in at 6a, dick with the thing, fabbing parts out of coathanger wire and cogs cut from tim cans. Get it up and synched. Then get docked because I didn’t clock in until I had it fixed.
I was on salary, too. No overtime paid, but the gangsters (literally, the company was a mafia money laundry) would withold from pay if you weren’t in by 7A.

Pingback from Cold Fury » Econ lesson for stupes
Time: May 28, 2010, 9:11 pm

[…] can haz common sense, Krugman…not so much. I have been trying to digest this Krugman article in the NY Times about the Tea Party movement. […]

Pingback from Cold Fury » Halfwit opens mouth, removes all doubt
Time: June 2, 2010, 6:43 pm

[…] like that “business before people” bullshit too. As our favorite mustelid recently asked, just who or what does she think “business” is, anyway? Gremlins? Orcs? Delicious cream […]

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