Debt not so funny
WASHINGTON - The Treasury Department is scrapping a plan to hire a cartoonist to lighten the mood of employees who manage the nation’s $1.2 trillion debt, after a senator questioned the merits of the plan.
“Our training staff felt that at a time when employees are working extra hours, it might have been helpful,’’ said Kim Treat, a spokesman for the Treasury’s Bureau of Public Debt. But the effort was canceled because it had become “more of a distraction than an opportunity,’’ he said.
The bureau said it was looking for a contractor to conduct presentations on the benefits of humor in the workplace and the connection between humor and stress relief. The contractor would have to be able to “create cartoons on the spot’’ about jobs at the bureau.
The office of Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, contacted the bureau after the solicitation was posted on The Drudge Report.
“Of all the agencies, the Bureau of Public Debt should know that there is very little that is funny about today’s economic conditions,’’ Dorgan said in a statement released yesterday.