"I had the honor and privilege as a twenty-something to work alongside Nancy in the mid-1980s. We spent many hours working on reforming state unemployment compensation law and even had the privilege of being invited to her home to assist her over a weekend on a number of documents. Obviously, this thing called the internet did not exist at the time, so it was good, old-fashioned manual data entry that got the job done. The lessons I learned alongside her in those days have carried me along throughout my career.
At the time, I was collecting reams of official data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Minnesota Department of Economic Security. One of the comparisons created in this process was a data table that took the average weekly unemployment benefit, multiplied by the average duration in weeks of unemployment. This calculation incensed the DFLers, so I could see your mother was putting extra thought into what to call this statistic. With a tilt of her head up, those piercing eyes peering through her glasses, and a small, wicked smile shared between her, myself and Margaret in that narrow office space in her basement, the pronouncement was made: this would be known as “The Misery Index.” I have never forgotten that.”