Didja Hear the One About the Funny Economist?

Even as the economic gloom deepens, some financial experts just want to have fun. Have you heard the one about the stand-up economist?

Justin Mott for TIME

Yoram Bauman cracks up the crowd at the Economics Humor Session.

It's Saturday night at the American Economics Association's conference, and Peter Orazem has just taken the podium in an overcrowded ballroom at the San Francisco Hilton. Hundreds of fellow Ph.D.s in Dockers, blue dress shirts and thick glasses fill the seats and line the walls. They've come to hear several economists offer their unique perspectives amid one of the worst financial crises in history, and Orazem, an Iowa State University economics professor, starts off discussing a government plan to combine health care and homeland security. "Now, instead of sending you to the doctor, they send you through airport security," he says....

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