Friday, January 13, 2012

What is funny at the Fed? An Inside Joke

A friend of mine showed me this collection of statements that induced laughter in the 2006 Federal Open Market Committee meetings. My favorite:
MR. HOENIG. Mr. Chairman, I think we have just been to North Dakota. [Laughter]
If you take this out of context, you might think that it wouldn't have been funny if they had just been to Montana. Had they been to North Dakota? Probably not, but what's the inside joke? The full transcript of the meetings provides the answer. In the December 12 meetings, there were exactly five explicit references to North Dakota. Maybe it is funnier in context.

Page 8.
MR. STOCKTON. As I worked my way through a final reading of the Greenbook this weekend, I was reminded of the old joke about the man who is told by his doctor that he has only six months to live. The doctor recommends that the man marry an economist and move to North Dakota. The man asks whether this will really help him live any longer than six months. The doctor says, “No, but it sure will feel a lot longer.” [Laughter] Part 1 of the Greenbook was its usual twenty pages, but with lengthy discussions of motor vehicle mismeasurements, PPI inventory deflator anomalies, income revisions, and footnotes [...]
Page 13.
MR. STOCKTON [still speaking]. I have so much more to say, but I’d better stop here, or you will think that we’ve begun our honeymoon together in North Dakota. Steve Kamin will continue our presentation.
Page 33.
MS. MINEHAN. It’s not fair. [Laughter] Well, to the extent that this sounds like North Dakota, let me just proceed. Despite data from the housing markets [...]
Page 112.
MR. HOENIG. Mr. Chairman, I think we have just been to North Dakota. [Laughter]
CHAIRMAN BERNANKE. I would say we crossed the border. [Laughter] Well, let me try to summarize. [Laughter]
Page 114-115
MR. KOHN. As we get ever deeper into North Dakota here, [laughter] I don’t know what President Stern thinks about this.
MR. STERN. I was going to say that I’m the only one here, on the Committee anyway, who gets there with any frequency, and people have suggested that I should defend North Dakota. But I must say that I felt the joke was apt. [Laughter]
Apparently, this is a case where boredom and tedium is funny. [Laughter]

(HT: Sean G.)

1 comment:

  1. Follow up: http://www.dailystaghunt.com/markets/2012/1/12/the-correlation-of-laughter-at-fomc-meetings.html#entry14562168

    ReplyDelete

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