Friday, June 17, 2011

Clifford Asness: Turning Unpopular Programs into Popular Ones at the Wall Street Journal

A Guide to What The Words Really Mean.

The Dismal Political Economist is a big fan of exposing those who use “substitute language” to describe unpopular or controversial positions, in the hopes that by using those terms the speakers can turn policies that the audience does not want into policies they think they want because they sound better than they are.

For example, we have commented several times on the situation in Greece, where the need to describe a bailout policy in terms that are politically palatable resulted in, as one observer put it, being “silly”.  Now in the Wall Street Journal editorial pages  a while ago we have a column by Mr. Clifford S. Asness touting the benefits of the Conservative positions.  But of course, if Mr. Asness were to state what those positions actually were, there would be little support for them, so he uses the usual “substitute language”. 

So in the public interest The Dismal Political Economist will translate Mr. Asness’s piece into real English.

I will also tell you Dodd-Frank, with its enshrining of too big to fail and its large regulatory costs, is an albatross

Translation:  We should not regulate financial institutions so they can fail again and require another massive bailout.

disregard for law during the auto-company "bankruptcies" has long-lasting negative effects.

Translation:  The program was a success so we have to make up some criticism, particularly since the disregard for law was not demonstrated or sustained in court which is where disregard for law is determined.

expected tax increases, even if only on the "super rich"—defined as anyone still gainfully employed

Translation: I assume everyone makes as much money as I do. (Nice sarcasm though)

Imagine we will move from here toward free-market health-care reforms appropriate for a free people

Translation: Free market health care reforms means private insurance replacing Medicare at much higher costs to seniors and higher profits for insurance companies. , and if you cannot afford it you have no business getting sick.

we'll make grown-up decisions and reform entitlements

Translation: By “Reform Entitlements” we mean cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.

We will reduce government spending and our debt

Translation: We are not really telling the truth here.  We want to cut out all social programs, but even then the budget will not have a surplus, which is necessary for reducing debt..

We will lower taxes across the board for individuals and businesses

Translation: We will cut taxes for the largest corporations and for the wealthiest taxpayers, and then blame government spending for not reducing the deficit.

So thanks for writing Mr. Asness, hope this clears things up for your readers.

1 comment:

  1. To counter, I will translate the dismal political economist's whole website, and life outlook for you.

    I hate liberty, and capitalism, and refuse to acknowledge that every move towards it that's not fake government crony capitalism, has made the world a better place for so very many. I am motivated by jealousy for those who've achieved more than me, and I will snarkily (as all leftists do) make fun of those speaking the truth. I will consider myself a wonderful person because I'm "charitable" with OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, and I think I have the right to steal from anyone as long as I CLAIM my motives are good.

    Specifically, I will look at a crisis MY LEFTIST POLICIES created, and use them as an excuse to take over more. I will blame "the rich" for everything like Goldstein in 1984. I will claim a bailout is a success when those it gives money to do better (of course if you hand the public's money to someone the person you hand it to does better, but does the public?).

    I will just lie my brains out as my dream is to be a snarky combination of Paul Krugman and Jon Stewart. I will ignore that my policies are destroying the world. Who cares as long as my kind is in charge and my friends praise my good intentions and little bon mots over white wine?

    The rest is just detail.

    You fail.