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Letters: Cutting the deficit, jerkwads and swearing

Marketplace Staff Aug 3, 2010

Letters: Cutting the deficit, jerkwads and swearing

Marketplace Staff Aug 3, 2010


Kai Ryssdal: You hear what we have to say every day, so now it’s your turn. A lot of you wrote about our interview with economic historian Niall Ferguson. He got all doom and gloom on us on our budget problems. He said tax cuts and too much spending are to blame.

Charlene Owens of Poolesville, Maryland thought we missed a pretty big point.

Charlene Owens: Why does Mr. Ferguson want to see a deficit reduction plan that cuts so-called “entitlements,” but he doesn’t mention cutting our military budget. That’s the largest piece of our budget pie and it’s overloaded with waste and gimmes for contractors. Why don’t we take a look at that before talking about cutting entitlements, which citizens are entitled to because they pay into them specifically.

We missed something on the broadcast yesterday. In our story about the business of moderating the comments people leave on websites, we talked about the “Greater Internet Jerkwad Theory.”

Eva Galperin: The theory posits that the combination of a perfectly normal human being, total anonymity and an audience, will result in a cesspit.

We should have given the gang at the online comic Penny Arcade a nod for that one. We didn’t, and I suppose that makes us the jerkwads, right?

We reported last week on how marketing companies mine our personal data for clues as to what we buy and how they break us into consumer clusters. Our very own Stacey Vanek Smith was a savvy single, if you recall. A lot of you wanted to know what cluster you fit into. Just to remind you, you can find that on our webpage.

Back to naughty words now. Goldman Sachs outlawed swearing in company e-mail this past week. We got to wondering why we swear on the job at all, seeing as how it can only get you into trouble. One theory from our interview was that cussing builds camaraderie.

Ann Bragonje of Henderson, Nevada thought that was a load of… Well, she disagrees.

Ann Bragonje: How in the world does swearing develop a sense of camaraderie in the workplace? More like fear or disrespect among co-workers. Whatever happened to having a vocabulary and being able to communicate in an effective manner with people rather than using insulting and disrespectful language?

Bill Kraig of Fargo, North Dakota wrote to say that for him, it goes beyond cameraderie. “Your guest, he wrote, “neglected to mention one important thing. All of us who still have jobs now work harder and longer hours for less pay, so swearing is about the only thing left that can help us cope with those…” bad times.

That was my euphemism there. If you think one of our stories was crummy, or you thought what you heard was just bleepin’ great write to us at Marketplace.org.

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