Phew! Another April Fools’ Day come and gone. Did you make it through without falling for one of those hilarious pranks that brands, blogs, and businesses love to spring on us each year? Wait—don’t answer yet. Maybe you got punked without even knowing it! Here are some of today’s best practical jokes that you might have missed.
The MTA Funding Prank
The New York state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo came to an agreement on the state budget last night, and among the items it contains is funding for New York City’s public transportation agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. But hidden in the budget is one wicked prank. Can you spot it?
Here’s a hint: “This $27 billion agreement marks the largest investment ever made in the MTA,” MTA chairman Tom Prendergast said in a statement.
In fact, the budget allocates about $1 billion in actual money to the MTA, for construction of the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway project. The source of the money needed for the rest of the MTA’s capital projects plan remains unknown. Classic Prendergast!
The Bloomberg View Minimum Wage Prank
Deep inside this seemingly bland editorial on the minimum wage over at Bloomberg View is this deadpan aside: “The best way to raise low wages is to raise productivity by helping workers to acquire skills and by ensuring that new entrants to the workforce are well educated.”
Oh ho ho! Another delightful jape from the editors of Bloomberg.
In fact, “ensuring that new entrants to the workforce are well educated” would have no bearing whatsoever on the wages of the currently employed, and even for future workers the benefits are likely overblown, as wages earned by college graduates have stagnated or even fallen since the early 2000s, suggesting that simply creating more college-educated workers is not sufficient to raise wages overall. As for productivity, productivity gains by American workers since the late-20th century have not correlated with wage growth. “The best way” to raise low wages is simply to raise low wages, either through minimum wage increases or direct subsidies, rather than indirectly through other policies with only soft or nonexistent secondary impacts on wages.
A clever prank, that surely fooled more than one unsuspecting web surfer!
The FiveThirtyEight Prank
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight’s famous math clown, today published this post explaining why Donald Trump may lose the Republican nomination at the convention, if he doesn’t win on the first ballot. It certainly seems like a plausible “blog post,” on first inspection.
Here’s how you can tell it’s a joke, though: Nate Silver would be far too modest—and ashamed, given his prior writing about this election!—to attempt to confidently predict anything involving Donald Trump and his pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination. Once you remember that, you realize that the whole post is an “easter egg” of sorts, for his many longtime fans.
Well, those were today’s jokes. Did we miss any of your favorites?