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Citations Needed

Dec 1, 2021

“Supply and demand.” “It’s just Econ 101.” “Most economists agree...” “There’s always trade offs.”
Over and over, 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 job creators are making record profits, and failing when investments in social programs have simply grown too high — and that’s the way it is and will, and should, always be.
These terms, phrases and sentiments are part of a lexicon of economic euphemisms, cliches, and other forms of business-school speak designed to blur class lines and convince us that our economic system — entirely a result of policy choices largely designed to further enrich the wealthy at any the expense of the broader welfare — is 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 just 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 so-called “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, instead of whether people have food, housing, healthcare, and job security?
On this episode, part one of a two-part series, we examine the first five of our ten most popular clichés, 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.