TIRED of baseball cards? Maybe you should try economist...

Salmagundi

September 22, 1993

TIRED of baseball cards? Maybe you should try economist cards. The Associated Press reports that a Michigan professor has developed a set of trading cards depicting distinguished economists.

Dale Matcheck, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan at Flint, and members of the university's Economics Club developed a set of 29 trading cards, each featuring an economist's picture, education, career and a quotation.

"I see it as a way for students to get acquainted with some of the personalities of economists and maybe spur them to look into primary literature, rather than just read the textbooks," Dr. Matcheck said.

Dr. Matcheck and the students created the Economics Trading Cards to help finance a student trip to the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank. So far, the club has sold about 900 sets of 1,500 printed.

The cost is $5 per set, with $1 going to the club.

There has been one complaint. One of the featured economists was disappointed that no bubble gum was included -- proof positive that there are economists out there who can (dare we say it?) spot a rip-off when they see one.

* * *

CALL most U.S. senators and you get a staff person. Ask for the senator and you get a third degree by, usually, two or three staff members -- but never hear the senator's voice.

Unless you've called to ask where you can donate $1,000 to a campaign fund. Or unless the senator is Barbara Boxer, the first-year Democrat from California.

Her phone is often (not always) answered by her voice, saying:

"Hello! This is Sen. Barbara Boxer. Thank you so much for calling! A member of my staff will be with you shortly. While you're holding, you'll hear classical music. And your call will be answered in turn. Again, thank you so much for calling!"

Then, after the musical interlude, you get the run around.

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