Friday, November 19, 2010

Q the Eye/11.19.10

Dear LakeCountyEye,

I just got elected to the statehouse. Now what?

Mr Right Goes to Springfield
Dear Ich Bin Ein Springfielder,

Turn right when you see Interstate 72.

Ha ha, seriously, don't make the mistake made this week by one fresh-off-the-tea-trolly Rep. The Daily Herald has all the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction facts ...
Newly elected state Rep. Tom Morrison raised some eyebrows Tuesday during freshmen legislators' orientation in Springfield when presented with paperwork to join the General Assembly's lucrative pension system. That's because he opted out, a move officials can recall happening just once before. "Are you sure you want to do that?" one administrator asked him.
Newly elected Palatine Republican to forgo pension
Morrison says he is opting out of the pension system to lead by example. Hardnosed skeptics will speculate he is grandstanding. Or, rather than deduct from his paycheck a $7800 pension contribution, he may simply need the money; how true it is, the bill collector never sleeps.

But your LakeCountyEye knows better -- this is classic behavior symptomatic of innumeracy.

Innumeracy, a cognitive deficiency, strikes without warning afflicting billions. Particularly susceptible to this debilitating disorder are politicians and other public officials.

According to Wikipedia, innumeracy often manifests itself as ...
financial mismanagement and accumulation of consumer debt, specifically related to misunderstanding of compound interest
One example would be not quite comprehending how $7800 invested today can grow 10-fold or even 100-fold over time.

Other symptoms of innumeracy are enumerated by the Wiki:
  • Inaccurate reporting of news stories and insufficient skepticism in assessing these stories.
    For instance, that a $13 billion budget deficit can be eliminated simply by cutting some questionable expenditures that were cherry-picked to foment outage among gullible readers.

  • Belief in pseudoscience.
    Like creationism and denial of climate change.

  • Poor assessment of risk.
    For example, the use of industrial chemicals may bring short term benefits. An innumerate, however, might not understand that long term exposure to hazardous substances can result in environmental damage, and lead to cognitive and health problems. Like more innumeracy.

  • Limited job prospects.
    This goes a long way toward explaining why innumerates seem to be disproportionally attracted to electoral politics.
But fret not. Your LakeCountyEye is quite sure that when you get to Springfield there will be many nice people waiting to tell you what to do.

If you are an elected official, or a previously elected official, or just a private citizen under indictment, send your political questions to Q the Eye c/o ...

No comments: