Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fertile Ground

A politico trained in agronomy
Was convinced he could grow the economy:
"To start with manure
'S the best way for sure,
So bullsh*t's incumbent upon-a me."

If there's one phrase that unites Washington these days, it's "to grow the economy."  Passions may boil over whether it's better to direct such growth from "the middle out" or "from the top down;" whether "the job creators" or "America's working families" comprise the more fertile soil in which to germinate the economy's roots; but there is no doubt as to the choice of metaphor.  In the newly redesigned New Republic's Jargonist column, Noreen Malone finds that "growing the economy" is a relative neologism in our old republic, first popularized by Bill Clinton in 1992.  Prior to that, the preferred metaphor imagined the economy as "an engine," on the basis of which the partisans could dispute how many cylinders it had, or whether it was firing on all of them.  Perhaps it is time to bring back Adam Smith's "invisible hand," although, in our hypersexualized era, we may not yet be ready for its inappropriate touch.

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