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43=6, When Government Officials Do the Math

My favorite television show of all time is Yes Minister and its sequel, Yes Prime Minister.  This 1980s comedy, produced by the BBC, offers on-going and deep lessons in public choice.  Here’s one of my favorite scenes; this scene features the P.M.’s chief permanent secretary (Sir Humphrey) seeking advice, over lunch, from his predecessor in that secretarial role, Sir Arnold.

Humphrey wants to persuade parliament to approve a 43-percent pay raise (or “rise,” as the Brits say) for the civil service.  But the U.K. is in the midst of a financial crisis.  So how to get such a large pay raise?  Simple: trickery and deceit.  Tune in starting at about the 8-minute mark to see how Arnold (seated to the viewer’s left) teachs Humphrey one of the fine arts of political legerdemain.