Monday, October 24, 2005

Grading the Government

To my understanding you give grades to your students who take your class or exams. Or else, you grade if you are asked by a committee of something to evaluate some people -- and that committe asks you because you are an expert. Another thing that you might play a "grader" is in reviewing something completely on subjective ground. Think about movies, books, hotels, restaurants, etc. But bear in mind that when it comes to taste, nobody can dictate what's good or bad for you. Such reviews, while might be useful for some people, they are not objective indicators. Even if Ebert says that Lord of the Rings is fantastic, I still don't like it. Does it give me a "fail"? As for the "gradee" side, it's true that there are powerful reviewers (or, "grader" for that matter) -- so powerful, the "target" can loose his/her job. I've heard some Hollywood rookies gave up their careers because Ebert "failed" them. But hey, that's their problem. I've heard many economics titans actually got C in their micro. Or, some seminal papers got rejected first and later on got published somewhere else with flying colors -- some even got Nobel prize!

So, I have no interest in this business of grading the government top officials on their one year anniversary in the administration. They are not my students. And I am no expert in whatever they are doing. Nor do I have experience as a cabinet member.

Criticizing is different thing. When you don't think the government is doing something correct, you speak up your mind. And, better yet, offer alternative way out. But giving letter grades A-B-C or numeral grades 5-7-8 etc is too much of sophomoric act. Some local newspapers, pundits, and a group of economists seem to disagree with me.

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