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It takes an economist to move me to write. I’m listening to NPR this morning after dropping the kids with their grandparents and on comes a Bank of America economist. He begins to bemoan the largest deficits this country has ever run in peacetime.

Get it? Peacetime. 

Last I checked, the US military was active in two countries that, while few people prefer to use the term “at war,” can not be described as peaceful: Iraq and Afghanistan.

I guess they fed the kool-aid to the “economists” as well as the risk managers at BofA. Maybe they should check back into the reality-based community once in a while.

But what’s equally maddening is that the NPR reporter seemed to let the “peacetime” comment pass without, uh, comment. Journos love to bring on the experts when they need perspective, but they don’t always like to ask the experts tough questions. That would just complicate things.

Set your hypocrisy radars on high alert. Just don’t expect anyone to reconcile the AIG bailout with the values of a government supposedly in thrall to the belief that the market is the ultimate arbiter of all that is good and true.

As we’re learning, the market can dish out some ugliness, too. But is it really a new lesson? Not for the workers who used to make Ford minivans. Or the workers that used to make toys, lawn mowers and televisions. Nor is the market’s ability to inflict pain news to anyone who has to fill up a gas tank or pay for their own health insurance.

But in all of those cases, we let the market do its work, or at least profess faith in its ability to do so over the long run – if, for example, we could clear out those silly government bans on offshore drilling. But when you’re an investment bank or an international insurance company, I guess drill, baby,  drill – or retrain, baby, retrain – isn’t the answer. The answer is a multi-billion-dollar loan.

I laughed when morning news anchors on CNN lamented AIG’s interest rate of 11.5%, calling it high and an incentive for the company to look elsewhere. Funny, but I don’t recall any journalists wringing their hands over the rates charged to people with credit cards (20%-plus) or the rates charged to subprime borrowers.

Seems to me, if your business is a credit risk and teetering on the edge of collapse, you should pay higher rates. No lender throws good money after bad at a low rate. Well, not anymore, anyway.

Another ridiculous argument in all this is the claim that the collapse of AIG would lead to higher borrowing costs. Higher costs for whom? Certainly not for people buying cars and houses, the two major purchases for most consumers.

The automakers would go lower than 0% if they could and I don’t see that changing – unless they get a bailout of their own. The same incentives apply to housing. If rates rise, home prices likely will fall, making them more affordable in the long run, not exactly the worst news in the world.

Yes, it sucks if you already have a house and the value falls or simply doesn’t go up year after year. But look on the bright side. You own a house. And now you own an insurance company, or at least a 79.5% stake in one. I can’t wait for my first dividend check.

So I was thinking more about this Google makes us stupid article, and I realized the author was too quick to blame technology for shortening attention spans. What if the main culprit was the relentless push for higher productivity?

Interestingly enough, the author (Nicholas Carr) mentions Frederick Taylor, who used a stop-watch to boost productivity among factory workers starting in the early 20th century. And he goes on to talk about how productivity is now more easily measured among “knowledge workers” (you can see the impact in attempts to measure journalistic output and “rightsize” newsrooms) But I don’t think Carr went far enough in analyzing economic forces. He was content to look mostly at the tools.

You could blame the assembly line for killing craftsmanship and ramping up productivity, just as you can blame the hammer for making us weaker — our ancestors drove nails with their teeth. But people had to invent the assembly line and convince and/or force other people to use it, regardless of its long-term impact on their lives. The same could be said about the Internet.

The more I think about this “Democratic dogfight is good for John McCain” analysis, the more I balk. How can it be good when you’re running for president and no one pays any attention to you? Isn’t getting attention one of the chief benefits of being a presidential candidate?

Sure, this analysis freaks out Democrats concerned about a drawn-out primary. But it also has another effect: it frees the media from having to focus on McCain while simultaneously allowing reporters to stay on his good side.

It also lets McCain sneak in extra naps — see how easy it is to play the age card?

I hope PA is a bit player in Campaign 2012 so we can avoid painful examples of media condescension like this one. It reminds me of a 1986 video called “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” only much less funnier.

Note that there is only one Cabela’s store in the entire state of PA, and the people who go there are not all rural — or Pennsylvanian. Fortunately, this particular store is located close to the highway and easily accessible to big-city reporters interested in barely scratching the surface.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I would have been in that parking lot in 1986 with my high school friends had it not been for family trip to the beach.

Journalists, though they may be ignorant on most topics, are called on as experts. And their willingness to open their mouths makes for good fodder on television. But that is also how they get in trouble a la Chris Matthews.

Journalists would be better off if they were more humble in their ignorance and less showboat-y. I won’t hold my breath, however.

Humility, for all its value as a human virtue, doesn’t get you invited to all the best parties. And it definitely won’t get you nice digs in Northwest Washington, D.C. or the Upper East Side.

People resent journalists not because they are ignorant, but because journalists are not afraid or ashamed of their ignorance.

Most people are embarrassed when they don’t know something. They shouldn’t be, but they are.