Every day it seemed more Iraqis woke up to death threats tossed into their carports. At first the death threats were handwritten, but as kidnappings became a daily occurrence, the kidnappers grew more brazen and organized. The terrorists now issue generic, computerized threats with the organization’s name as letterhead. Only the name of the victim is written by hand.
I’m pleased to see this leap forward in death squad productivity. But there’s still the drag on economic efficiency of writing the victims’ names in by hand. The solution is clear: tax cuts for death squads, which will allow them to make the capital investment to fully automate their death squadding.
And if that doesn’t do the trick, we should add Iraq to NAFTA, thereby lowering the barriers to trade in death squads, enlarging the death squad market and creating needed death squad economies of scale.
(You may think this is just a grim, tasteless joke, and completely unrepresentative of how many economists think. But it’s not.)