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August 10, 2005

Boredom: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Wonkette reports that the Treasury Department was underutilized (to say that it was out-of-the-loop would be to falsely imply that there was a loop) during the first Bush administration:

Wonkette - The People's Excruciatingly Tedious Business: Flush from reporting the breaking news that tourists are often confused, the Washington Post breathlessly delivers the scoop that government workers are often bored. Once we were able to get the blood rushing back to our head, we heeded Amy Joyce's tale of Bruce Bartlett's many lost afternoons as deputy assistant secretary for economic policy in the Treasury Department:

boredom occasionally drove him from his cushy Washington office to seek relief at the movie theater. One afternoon, he ran into a friend who was a senior official in another department.

"It was kind of awkward," he said.

Since I took Bruce's seat at the Treasury when the Bush administration turned into the Clinton administration, let me recount one 10:30 PM conversation I had at the Treasury in the spring of 1993 with one of the career economists. "Yeah. It was kind of boring around here for the past couple of years. We used to wish that we would be asked by the White House to do more." Pause. "I suppose the lesson is: 'Be careful what you wish for'."

Posted by DeLong at August 10, 2005 05:34 PM