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Political rhetoric of fiscal cliff diving

November 28, 2012

Like I said yesterday in regards to Grover Norquist’s Pink Unicorn, Grace Hwang Lynch writes: “There is No Fiscal Cliff” in BlogHer, quoting Joanne Bamberger at The Broad Side: “Guess What? There Is No Fiscal Cliff”:

How each side chooses terminology to discuss issues is important, though, in how the game is plated on Capitol Hill.

Bamberger also writes:

Is that a cliff? Only if you call it one. And then keep repeating it until everyone uses your shorthand that puts an image in people’s minds of a looming catastrophe.

And cites to a CNN money article from earlier this month “Who started the latest ‘fiscal cliff’ buzz?” by Annalyn Kurtz, suggesting fiscal cliff was coined as early as 1957 in the NyTimes, and also that Senator Jim DeMint used the phrase in 2008. Also recently Senator DeMint referred to zombie legislators. ZombieLaw readers may also remember CNN’s Annalyn Kurtz from her previous name Annalyn Censky when she wrote about Zombie Economy
zombie annalyn kurtz

Bamberger’s ideas about rhetoric instantiating itself is what I keep saying about “zombies”. They exist because of the rhetoric. It’s not really a fiscal “cliff”, but it becomes one when we say it is. Same with zombies. It’s not that legislators become actual zombies but the metaphors merge…

But who are the real zombies in Congress? Is it the 92 congressman who are not returning for the 113th? or is it the other 300+ who will be there if we wait til next year? The 92 are at least free to vote their conscience, while the others are still tied to political shackles. But everyone is still tied to their own personal political shackles. Maybe it’s the newly elected unseated who are zombies since they can’t even vote yet. Make the zombies into whatever fear you want … same with the cliff.

I am starting to think that if there is a cliff, maybe we are not at the top about to go over Thelma and Louise style – maybe we are at the bottom, about to crash into the wall. Maybe the zombies are going to just keep walking into the wall dead end and what we need isn’t a bridge (to the 21st century) but instead a ladder or climbing ropes or maybe a helicopter? What if we just call the law a helicopter funding package? Or maybe I can get a small used helicopter for my $2,200?

From → economics, money, politics

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