Ask a Bureaucrat (March 2012)

Dear Bureaucrat,

How come American Airlines goes completely bankrupt and it’s business as usual, but I miss one credit card payment and I no longer qualify for a mortgage?

-Stuck in Subprime

Dear Subprime,

You are not alone. Since mortgages caused the financial crisis we banned them outright, even for people who aren’t FICO deadbeats like you. As for American, while it is legally a person it is more like a celebrity in that we don’t hold it responsible for its actions. It is also a government carrier. We really didn’t want to lose our gold status by switching airlines.


Dear Bureaucrat,

What is the proper etiquette for wearing one’s ID badge outside the office?

-Eager Summer Intern

Dear ESI,

On a first date go with something casual like lanyard around neck but badge in shirt pocket. At happy hour one may hang one’s ID from a belt loop provided that one’s agency name and clearance level show prominently. When poolside one’s badge may substitute for swim trunks provided that one diligently pulls the retractable cord to a decent length.


Dear Bureaucrat,

I suspect my dog may be up to no good. It digs holes in the backyard and then covers up the evidence with dirt. How can I deter it?

-Ezra Ayle

Dear Ezra,

Cut off your dog’s supply of chew toys. Threaten to not pet other dogs that share their chew toys with it. If that doesn’t work, stop feeding it. Soon enough Fido will roll over, and sit, and fetch, and do whatever else you want in exchange for a treat. That or bite you and pee all over the house. Bad dog!


Dear Bureaucrat,

How might the internationalization of the Chinese yuan diminish the ability of the U.S. Treasury to finance sustained current account deficits while maintaining debt stability?

-Milton Schwartz

Dear Milton,

Just because it says “economist” in my job title does not mean I have ever actually studied economics. I’ll ask our intern and get back to you.

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