September 10, 2004

· Politics

By now you’ve probably read this story about what Dick Cheney said yesterday:

Indicators measure the nation’s unemployment rate, consumer spending and other economic milestones, but Vice President Dick Cheney says it misses the hundreds of thousands who make money selling on eBay. “That’s a source that didn’t even exist 10 years ago,” Cheney told an audience in Ohio. “Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay.”

John Edwards said this morning that “If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking.” I see three possible responses from Cheney.

  • Say you’ve changed your mind and that women’s domestic labor should be counted as part of the formal economy. Job-creation problem solved.

  • Issue a corrected transcript of the speech, with one of the following corrections: “Four hundred thousand”; “trading on eBay NASDAQ”; or “That’s a source that didn’t even exist 10 years ago I just pulled out of my ass right now, because I think you’re all idiots.”

  • Glance out the window, turn to Scooter Libby and say, “Let them sell tchochkes.”

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I am Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center.

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