Greg Mankiw brings to the fore a relevant Question often used in Politics, and sometimes even in Economics. How to choose a Fall Guy? The problem arises whenever there has been a legal or moral discrepancy by some element of the Established Order. Scooter Libby in Plamegate, Milton Friedman in Chile. The Choice of Individual to take the Fall has some major Subject points: The Individual chosen must be very personable, highly likable with many friends, if One intends to minimize the damage; the Individual must be able to evoke sympathy. The Individual also must not be at the direct center of the debacle, and be able to maintain he had very little knowledge of the Incident though he had heard some non-exculpatory evidence of Hearsay. The whole directional effort must be directed to the Thought of the Public that he was the poor little guy who got caught among the major Players.
The Fall Guy must always maintain the fiction that he was not really in the Loop, and all he really knew was Rumor. Outright denial of all Charges, no matter how ridiculous in appearance, must be constantly given; it has absolutely no effect in the initial Trial or Indictment, but will always lessen Sentence or Punishment when People begin to discuss such impositions. The major Players must always distance themselves from the Fall Guy, creating the impression that the Fall Guy has been dumped; this later presenting the impression that Public outrage at the mistreatment of the Fall Guy forced the Major Players to intervene on his behalf. The total final Image desired is that the Major Players cannot be reached, the Fall Guy had the entirety of the blame dumped on him unfairly because he had very little control over the disruptive action, and People should feel sorry for the Fall Guy who got ground up and spit out.
Readers must understand that Fall Guys are expedient. No Organization will ever work with 100% efficiency, whether We are talking about illegality or any other form of structured planning. Public reaction provides the sole Pressure to generate high efficiency in Organizations, and it is natural for Organizational leadership to direct efforts to minimize Public reaction. Outrages against the Public Order increase with poor leadership expertise, as does efforts to minimize Public reaction. Who outed Plame? It was probably the brainchild of Karl Rove, but undoubtedly signed off on by GW Bush and Dick Cheney before the Outing; Scooter Libby lacked any power to subvert this authority, though he knew of the Outing in advance. Responsible Adults must accept what they cannot change, but do not be misled by the deviancies of Power lest you are confronted by worse Injury in the future. Should Libby have his Sentence commuted–Yes; should he be Pardoned, only under Threat of Impeachment for the President, who must stand equally responsible for the illegalities of his subordinates. lgl