The Roland Burris saga has certainly cost the taxpayers time and money, from the expenses of lawsuits filed to prevent his appointment to those associated with his testimony to the state House impeachment panel. Add to that the opportunity cost of not having a senator focused squarely on his duties.
But has Burris overall been good or bad for the economy? We're not so sure.
GOOD: Newspapers sales spike with each revelation of wrongdoing.
BAD: Work productivity slows with each revelation of wrongdoing.
GOOD: Residual anti-Blago T-shirt business pulls in last marginal dollars.
BAD: Fewer dollars left for Pat Quinn bobbleheads.
GOOD: Ratings up for late-nite comics making fun of Burris.
BAD: Writers laid off because Burris writes own material.
GOOD: Burris vote helps pass stimulus bill.
BAD: Burris vote helps pass stimulus bill.
GOOD: Free advertising for mausoleum business.
BAD: People are dying of crime, disease and war while we devote our attention to Roland Burris.
BAD: FBI, U.S. Attorney's Office diverted from investigating Daley.
GOOD: Campaign spending to increase during upcoming fractious 2010 Senate race.
BAD: America crumbling while money spent on campaigns with negligible results in terms of solving our problems.