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November 14, 2008

maybe they call it research because you have to do it over again

A research study reported on this week from the Workforce Education and Development Initiative (WED) found that non-profit organizations contribute to the economy.

This is surely true.  For instance, General Motors is a non-profit and we all know it contributes to the economy, including nearly $10 million contributed to Washington lobbyists and lawyers alone.  Imagine what that did for local Ferragamo shoe sales!

Oh, they meant organizations that are non-profit on purpose.

The study focused primarily on the Pennsylvania Association of the Blind (PAB) and noted that the economic activity such non-profits generate is due directly to the fact that they spend the money people give them.

This finally puts to rest the long-held belief that charities use donor checks primarily to create soup stock for Meals-on-Wheels programs (you have no idea how long it takes to boil those things down).

But no, expert researchers Dr. David Passmore and Dr. Rose Baker applied their unique insights (it’s a gift, really… and a curse) and found that the PAB “purchases such items as electricity, water, office paper,… and office furniture.”  This would be as opposed to sitting in the dark, thirsty, writing on the walls cross-legged on the floor.

Who knew?

But as they delved further into the subject, their curiosity obviously piqued by their startling discoveries up to that point, they found more, including irrefutable evidence that the people who work for the PAB spend their pay on “various consumer items,” and do not, as was previously believed, burn the money in ritualistic pagan harvest ceremonies.  This is all “part of the complex web of economic relationships that comprise the Pennsylvania economy,” observed Passmore and Baker, clearly giddy with the realization that they may be the very first researchers ever to compile the hard data necessary to convince a skeptical academy that people both make and spend money.

Is that Mr. Nobel calling?

But then, the Workforce Education & Development Initiative, a partnership of various Penn State entities, has long been on the cutting edge of economic analysis. If you have a question about how a specific economic event might impact your area, the WED is the place to go for a report that does not specifically address your question.

And do it dependably. Every time.  For example:

A repot on Merck & Co. layoffs “was designed to help understand the impact of job cuts of Merck & Co. in Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties,” however “the Brief does not forecast the specific impact of Merck & Co.’s operations.”

A report on National City Corporation layoffs “was designed to help understand the potential effect it has on the County,” however “the Brief does not forecast the specific impact of National City Corporation’s operations.”

And a report on potential gas royalty income that doesn’t offer any information on the actual impact of gas royalty income beyond the assumptions that it would probably be real good.

In other words, the WED is kind of like a murder mystery train; they provide all the clues you need, but it’s up to you to guess what the real effect on employment and tax receipts will be!

Isn’t that more fun?

Regardless, the WED clearly fills a vital role in detailing the obvious and avoiding the difficult. We should consider ourselves fortunate that the WED is able to retain the services of Passmore and Baker and that they have not been tempted to leave and apply their intellects to more lucrative pursuits, such as finding a cure for cancer, developing sustainable fusion reactions, or pasting colorful bits of felt to poster board.


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November 14, 2008 at 01:24 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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As frequently happened, I got sidetracked.

Why have a murder mystery on a train? Is it to guarantee that no matter what happens, no one can leave halfway through? And it's round-trip, which begs the question is the track circular, or does it go one way and then back the other? If you got on and it took you 3.5 hours away and left you there, then on the bright side at least you'd be 3.5 hours away from the place where where people do murder mystery trains.

And the fuel usage to go nowhere! Sure, all mass transportation is blessed from on-high but still, the consensus watch has got to be at least uneasy about this.

Posted by: Amarsir | Nov 15, 2008 10:49:06 PM

They could call it mass murder transportation.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Posted by: Planet Moron | Nov 16, 2008 9:18:45 AM

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