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Dec 8, 2021

"Deregulation will make the economy more efficient and stimulate GDP growth," insist think tanks like the Brookings Institution and American Enterprise Institute. "Fiscal hawks," claiming to be worried about the deficit, demand austerity measures to reign in government spending. When it comes to "entitlement programs," we hear that "there are always tradeoffs."  

Time and again, the media and policymakers spew the same tired recitations meant to convey the seemingly natural, immutable laws of economics. The economy, we’re told, is thriving when business owners and hedge fund managers are making record profits, yet failing when investments in social programs have gotten too big. And that's just how it is.

Terms, phrases, and sentiments like these are part of a lexicon of economic euphemisms, cliches, and other forms of business-school speak designed to blur class lines and convince us all that our current economic system - entirely a result of policy choices largely designed to further enrich the wealthy at the expense of the broader welfare - is merely a function of cold, hard science, with rules and principles no more pliable than those of physics or chemistry.

But why should we be expected to accept that a news report that “the economy” is on the upswing means the average worker is doing any better, when all evidence is to the contrary? Why should our media’s economic "experts" come from a pool of elite economics departments beholden to corporate donors and right-wing think tanks? And why must "the economy" be defined in terms of whether the Dow is up or down, rather than whether people have food, housing, healthcare, and job security?

On this episode - Part II of a two-part series - we’ll examine another five of the most popular cliches, jargon, and rhetorical thingamajigs that economists, economic reporters and pundits use to sanitize, obscure, and provide a thin gloss of Science-ism to what is little more than power flattering cruel, racist austerity ideology.

Our guest is writer Hadas Thier.