Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
The Power of Distributed Ignorance, or: How the Pros Do It

Kevin Drum, Tuesday:
Mickey Kaus thinks that Bruce Reed and I are wrong for criticizing George Bush's post-Katrina suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, a Hoover-era law that compels the government to pay "prevailing wages" for construction work. Is Mickey right? I'll be honest about this: the first time I had ever heard of the Davis-Bacon Act was on September 9, when I wrote the post in question.
Matt Yglesias, also Tuesday:
I'm probably not the best person to rebut Mickey Kaus' attacks on the Davis-Bacon Act since I don't really know anything about it, but even accepting his characterization of the issue for the sake of argument I don't buy it.
Guys...please, don't ruin the illusion. If you've developed the ability to pontificate on stuff you know nothing about, don't draw attention to it! I mean, was Kaus an expert on Davis-Bacon when he started? I bet not, but did he apologize before posting? Hell no! And what is it about this one topic that's forcing all this honesty out of you guys? Is it that "Davis-Bacon" sounds so incredibly dry that you figure you really ought to up on it to be a proper policy wonk?

UPDATE: Center-Left Punditry Held Hostage, Day 2: Now the two of them are acting like they've hit the long division part of the 4th-grade arithmetic test.

Dave Meyer's done what I didn't dare and actually looked into the details of what Davis-Bacon does...
The Davis-Bacon "prevailing wage" debate continues! You're excited, aren't you?
(In an attempt to go double-meta, I've barely read any of these pieces beyond their demotivational openings, nor whatever Kaus had to say.)

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