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The U.S. Treasury Department wanted to hire Humorists ... (jesters) to Motivate Employees

Marian Baginski|Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, I assure you this is no joke! On July 9, 2009 an ad appeared on the official website of the United States Department of the Treasury.

On July 9, 2009 an ad appeared on the official website of the United States Department  of the Treasury.

The U.S. Treasury Department Will Hire Humorists . . .( Jesters) to Motivate Employees when Explaining Current Economic Conditions

Interested parties could respond as early as July 14th. The ad also announced that the candidate(s) had to come from outside the Department. Of course a Solicitation Number (RFI-BPD-0028) was given. Applicants were to contact Angela Zoller (psb2@ppd.greas.gov) or Jane Oney. The ad also listed the classification code (- U +), education requirements and the institution code (61143). The Treasury Department, this time-honored institution originally founded in 1789, included a job description: ”Participants shall experience demonstrations of cartoons being created on the spot”. The potential employee will thus have to teach a course on this subject to the bureaucrats at the Treasury Department and especially the Bureau of Public Debt.

Upon reading the above ad I was reminded of the royal court of the 16th-century King Sigismund the Elder of Poland and his famous court jester, Stanczyk. Contrary to all appearances, this jester was a quite intelligent and educated individual. When the king had problems Stanczyk was not only capable of cheering him up but also of conveying the bitter truth to the monarch in an intelligent way. In those days being a court jester required one to be familiar not only with politics but even finance. He was close to the king and was probably exposed to the monarch’s troubles on a daily basis.

There are plenty of educated and intelligent people in America – both within the Treasury Department and without, though in this case they are looking for an outsider. Most Americans are also well aware of the fact that the vast majority of people employed by the three branches of government come from a legal background. Often, these people also have a sense of humor, to which the statements of officials representing the judicial, executive and (especially) the legislative branches are ample testimony. For example, there are judges (people who could, after all, switch jobs) who argue that a divorcee is somehow entitled to $ 1.2 million from her ex-husband for continuing sexual relations (incidentally, according to my calculations, the services ”professionals” would only cost about $ 500,000). There was also a judge who recognized a male –to-female sex change but for only one day, i.e. April Fool’s Day.   

There are also plenty of lawyers who flock to the courts in droves but, once hired by the Treasury Department, would have access to money without having to obtain it from individual citizens.

I’m not even going to mention all kinds of magicians who can cheat and rob us in front of our own very eyes without us even knowing about it.

But I’m sure that you are interested in finding out the ending of the story. Recently, according to Alexander Bolton from the Hill, Senator Byron Dorgan does not believe that any jester or jesters hired from outside of the Treasury Department will be paid for their ”work”. Of course this doesn’t mean that other Treasury Department employees will be denied payment for their work.

It appears that the BPD apologized for its efforts to hire a professional jester. As of now they have stopped their search for a ”training consultant”. But does this mean that the Bureau stopped hiring altogether? After all, bureaucrats know that they have to evade the law. Or, perhaps, they came to the conclusion that the Treasury Department already has enough ”jesters” on its payroll?

Marian Baginski
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