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An Orszag Mystery Solved

A few weeks ago I linked to this NPR interview in which Obama budget director Peter Orszag shared his approach to marathon training:

Orszag has employed this [behavioral] knowledge while training for a marathon.

"If I didn't achieve what I wanted to, a very large contribution would automatically come out of my credit card and go to a charity that I very much didn't support," Orszag says of his training strategy. "So that was a very strong motivation, as I was running through mile 15 or 16 or whatever it was, to remind myself that I really didn't want to give the satisfaction to that charity for the contribution."

He declines to name the charity.

Well, it looks like Ryan Lizza, author of a great Orszag profile in this week's New Yorker, has gotten to the bottom of it. Ryan blogs today that when he asked Orszag about this:

[h]e wouldn’t tell me what anti-charity he used as his motivation, but he did say it would be obvious if I looked up the list at StickK, which is as follows:

  • Americans United for Life
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation
  • Nature Conservancy
  • The National Center for Public Policy Research
  • Freedom to Marry
  • Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
  • Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence
  • NRA Foundation
  • George W. Bush Presidential Library
  • William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library

I think it’s safe to say that if Orszag doesn’t do well in his next marathon, the Bush library can look forward to a nice donation.

I was skeptical when I first heard about this, but that's a pretty good motivator.

--Noam Scheiber