I’m sure there are many ways of measuring productivity.  The economists have one definition.  It is nebulous if you try to fashion a yardstick to measure it.  My wife has another.  She uses what I call the humping factor, as in “The trash men who jump off the back of the truck, run to the trash can, dump your refuse in the truck, send the can hurling back to the curb and then run to the next can, those guys are productive.”  It may be said that those guys are humping it. 

Then again, there is the Tax Foundation’s definition of productive.  It apparently means anyone who’s rich. Asked to comment by Lori Montgomery, a Washington Post reporter, on the taxes Democrats are considering to pay for health care reform, a senior fellow, Robert Carroll, of the Tax Foundation, said it’s not the poor schleps who toss your trash can around.

"One has to decide whether the health-care reform package they’re talking about is worth imposing such high tax rates on the most productive members of society," Carroll said.

What makes them productive, he doesn’t say, and apparently Montgomery never asked.  She just let him make the assertion that rich people are the most productive.  Which means the economy lost a great leader when Michael Jackson died.

It also means stenography is alive and well at The Post.

But let me find lemonade in this lemon of a story.  Montgomery didn’t identify the Tax Foundation as “liberal” or “conservative,” as is often the case when quoting sources that represent an organization.  Thanks for that. 

So I get to guess whether this comment is colored by a ideological prejudice.  That’s fine.  I just wish I had some way of evaluating whether his statement is correct.  Ms. Montgomery could have helped me here instead of just recording his comment.