2017 Errata

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Occasionally here at Wondermark, our crack team of japists are made aware of a factual error in one of our comic strips. Here is our annual attempt to set the record straight. (Previous years’ entries.)

#1299; The Ever-Watchful Eye of Everyone
The YouTube video shown in the final panel has its slider all the way almost to the end of the video, but the counter displays the current time as “0:00”. The correct time should be “2:57”.

#1321; My Dad’s Salad
This is a biggie, considering this comic originally ran in 2011 at Saveur.

The salad recipe in the comic, which has now been corrected, originally called for various ingredients including “about a cup of olive oil.” I have since realized that is way too much olive oil.

I have never actually measured how much to use! I always just drizzled it over the salad before tossing. It’s about 4–5 seconds of drizzling, which probably comes out closer to 4–5 tablespoons. Please update your handwritten index cards in their recipe box accordingly.

#1301; In which a Gänger is doppeled
Dukey actually borrowed the twenty bucks in question in 1994, not 1993. It was to buy a ticket to see D2: The Mighty Ducks at the Ferblangville Cineplace 13.

#1314; Home Among the Primitives (Part 2)
While not an error per se, it may be unclear in the final panel whether time traveler Jordal Bumpskern, when describing mailing an epithet-filled envelope to “the sun”, is referring to:

  • Sol, the star at the center of the eponymous Solar System,
  • The Sun, the British tabloid,
  • The Sun, the American literary magazine, or
  • The Sun (previously Sun-Telegram), the daily newspaper serving San Bernardino, California.

It is the first of these.

#1336; In which Much remains Unheard Of
A better punchline in the final panel would be: “Well…I listen at 2x speed, so”

#1285; In which Tax is a Team Sport
The comic posits a clever way to make federal tax collection comport with the human desire to not be forced to monetarily support policies that one opposes.

In doing so, the characters describe how their tax money is collected and then used to fund certain programs. While this is a popular conception of the role of taxation, and while it is indeed true for state and local taxes, it may be incorrect with respect to federal income tax.

As explained by economist Stephanie Kelton, “Modern Money Theory” posits that a more useful way to think of national monetary policy is that the federal government issues its sovereign currency into the economy when it spends its budget, thus creating that money by fiat, and then removes currency from the economy when it taxes citizens.

That money “collected” by taxation doesn’t exist in any real sense once the government instructs banks to deduct it from your bank account. As the issuer of the currency, the Fed is the stadium, not a player, and it simply increments the scoreboard.

And the money spent by the government does not come from a pool of taxpayer dollars; those specific dollars did not actually exist before they were spent — a government check here being the equivalent of an instruction to a bank to increment an account to the positive.

Thus the purpose of taxation is to create a demand for sovereign currency (since you have to pay taxes, you have to work to earn dollars, which are the only thing the government accepts as payment) as well as control the overall money supply to limit inflation.

Under this theory, budget “deficits” do not represent a shortage of spending money available to the government; rather, any budget deficit on the government’s part is a surplus on the part of the recipients of that spending, i.e. individuals, companies, or state and local governments.

And under this theory, the question of spending priorities thus should not be driven by deficit concerns, but rather by choices in social policy — i.e., which injections into the economy will result in greater well-being and prosperity among the citizenry.

So if that is true, then the premise posited by the comic is incorrect. Taxation does not “pay for” anything; in fact, any taxation at all begins to seem like a waste, because those dollars are just being deleted. The grudging sacrifice for the greater good the comic takes for granted is thus a misapprehension.

Taking all this as a matter of economic fact, the comic’s premise is therefore wrong (at least with respect to the federal government).

But as a behavioral economic concept, to get people to feel like they are active participants in and have a stake in the government, I think the “allocation” checkboxes are still a good idea. In fact, in the last panel the Congressman outright admits that the allocations would be simply a useful fiction.

JUST LIKE MONEY ITSELF, AM I RIGHT

#1288; A Real Stand-Up Friend
The rhinoceros is definitely not going to stop doing that.

Wondermark regrets the errors.