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February 27, 2009

Creating a Misery Index for the Politicians

MEDIA NOTICES: Look below the signature for details.

Quote of the Day: “I tried to find out what the politicians were up to, which is a difficult job. I find that politicians as a class are up to no good.” — Robert Novak, columnist and political reporter

Subject: Creating a Misery Index for the Politicians

Are you frustrated? Scared? Is the daily drumbeat of news from Washington making you nervous, depressed, miserable?

We are too.

The politicians are up to no good. They’re doing so many bad things so fast in so many different directions that it’s hard to keep up with it.

We continue to believe that the small number of mortgage defaults that started this mess need not have caused the economic downturn we now face. We think the problem has been magnified by the crisis-mongering politicians and the drama-mongering media.

Watch the investment markets. When a government official speaks the markets plummet. We think things would recover quickly if the politicians and the media would just shut up, and if the government would STOP doing things.

The politicians are creating what the great economic historian Robert Higgs has called “regime uncertainty.”

Regime uncertainty is a large part of what made the Great Depression so deep and so long.

Every government action changes the rules of the economic game. Right now, this is happening daily, if not hourly. People are uncertain what the rule regime will be from moment to moment. Uncertainty leads to inaction, and so . . . the economy freezes.  

Very soon we’ll all start talking about the Misery Index again. The Misery Index is the combined total of inflation and unemployment.

Our government is working hard to make everyone miserable. The good news is that the Misery Index is only 7.63%. It was 21.98% at its last high point in June of 1980. But our politicians seem determined to make the misery index rise to new heights.

What we need EVEN MORE is a Misery Index for the Politicians. You, along with 24,420 other DC Downsizers, have the power to torment the politicians — to help them “feel your pain.”

If their phones never stop ringing, if their computer screens are constantly flooded with unhappy messages, if their local offices are constantly crowded with angry constituents, believe me, the politicians will be miserable. We can measure these various inputs to establish the level of that misery.

Perhaps the most important part of this index is the rate at which the Downsize DC Army grows, and that’s a function of how much we invest in recruitment. We currently have $5,481 ready for outreach.

Our goal for this month was to be at $10,900. We’re at the deadline for February. To stay on track, to grow the army large enough that it causes Congress misery, we need to raise another $5,491 before the end of the day tomorrow.

Frankly, that’s the most productive thing you can to do to relieve your stress, and impose it instead, on Congress.

We also need to recruit 20 new monthly pledgers per month to MAINTAIN our forward progress. We’ve recruited just SEVEN new pledgers so far this month. Are you afraid to make such a commitment in this time of uncertainty? You can start a monthly pledge for as little as 17 cents per day, which is just $5 a month.

If you like the idea of creating a Misery Index for Politicians, we hope you’ll contribute or start a monthly pledge today.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

P.S. Remember, thanks to some generous donors and our monthly pledgers, we have our operating expenses covered. Our commitment right now is to spend 90% of incoming, online donations on direct marketing outreach.

Who else is doing that?

P.P.S. If you want to make a donation of $2,000 or more, and you have questions, please hit reply to this Dispatch, share your contact information with my team, and I’ll be in touch.


Today (Friday), for the hour starting at 3:06 PM Eastern, Downsize DC President Jim Babka is scheduled to be on Straight Talk w/ Jerry Hughes. Listening details are available at the blog.

SUNDAY, Jim Babka will be returning to his old time slot to be guest on Free Minds Radio. For those who are new to the list, Free Mind’s hosts Nick and Toby (who are also the hosts of Free Minds TV), took Jim’s place as Sunday afternoon syndicated talk show hosts on the Genesis Communications Network.

Each episode they do a segment called, “The Downsizer-Dispatch” — catchy title, eh? They share our work with their viewers and listeners. And Jim is looking forward to joining them.

We’re not sure yet what time Jim is going to be on the program, but Free Minds Radio airs from 3 – 5 PM Eastern time. You can listen online at

And you can learn more about the Free Minds programs at

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