Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bailout as a window to the soul

My irrigator friends use a device called the Frequency Domain Reflectometry probe, also known as the FDR probe, to measure soil water content for establishing schedule and volume of water deliveries. Over the past few days, I had been amusing myself applying the socioeconomic variant of the "FDR probe" to commentators on the economic situation (politicians, columnists, bloggers, random strangers).

Recall that FDR (Franklin D Roosevelt) was president of America during the depression of the 1930s and is credited with engineering the New Deal, which is criticized by some as being too socialist.

On my FDR scale, those for whom government intervention is a foregone conclusion (and the only question is how) earn a perfect 10-FDR. At the other end are those who vehemently oppose any government intervention - they ring up a zero-FDR. Of course, interpretation of the results depends on which way the beholder's moral compass points; a perfect 10-FDR may actually be far, far from perfect.

My measurements on friends, acquaintances, and fellow travelers surprise me. There are no takers for the zero-FDR score. Those in the 1 to 5 scale are few. Most respondents scored 6- to 10-FDR and their concerns seemed to be limited to details - "hope executive pay is capped", "where is my bailout?", "my favorite blogger says the bailout should be administered differently", and so on.

Amused but disappointed, I had to finally turn to the Cato website to test the scale's lower ranges...

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