Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007
My version of the old saying goes like this: "Where there's a buck, there's a will, and where there's a will, there's a way." The important point is to admit to the source of the proverbial "will" - which in my mind is a "buck" or some other gain (it doesn't have to be monetary).
My version of the cliche goes a long way to explaining seemingly odd or unanticipated behavior, which of course could have been easily anticipated. For example, consider this clip from a story in today's Chronicle of Higher Education:
Public universities seeking Congressionally earmarked money for campus projects frequently pump up their lobbying efforts, a watchdog group says, by providing free tickets to lawmakers and their staffs for championship games, like the NCAA Basketball Tournament that tips off on Thursday.Now, I don't have a strong opinion in this particular matter. I suppose giving away tickets to college sports is much like giving away tickets to professional sports - it builds relationships of some sort, for good or for ill. What I find more interesting is the clear incentive schools have to provide comps to people of interest. How this was unanticipated by the powers that be is a bit of a head-scratcher. This is especially true when you recognize that the primary competition for earmarks, that from the private sector, as essentially been pushed out of the market for earmarks.
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