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Personal Or Private

Well, complaining that the press shouldn't act like douchebags is fun, but we know how this game is played. The only way to get the media to refer to private accounts as "private accounts" is if the media is convinced that "private accounts" is a neutral third-way term between the Bushian "personal accounts" and some other Democratic alternative term. This calls, basically, for someone at the DNC (or DSCC or AFL-CIO or MoveOn or wherever) to hire someone to do some focus groups and come up with a serviceable term that focus groups even worse than private accounts. Then you send around a memo getting all Democrats to start calling them "X accounts" while the White House calls them "personal accounts." Then "private accounts" will look like a decent compromise and it may well get back in the stories.

It's insane, yes, that the very term invented by proponents of private accounts is now considered to be off-limits. But that's the game. If you want to work the refs, you've got to work the refs. "Forced savings accounts" strikes me intuitively as something that focus groups won't like, but actual research should be done. The original privatizers guessed that "privatization" and "private accounts" sounded good, but it turns out that they don't. Professionals can figure this stuff out. "Mandatory stock accounts," maybe. I dunno.

January 26, 2005 | Permalink

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» starve-in-the-cold-if-you-live-too-long accounts from The Ethical Werewolf
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» Controlling the Language of Debate from Outside The Beltway
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» Newspeak: Double-plus Good Accounts (was privatized, was private, *was* Social Security) from New Red Menace

The New Red politboro now says the Dirty Reds have never called privatized Social Security "private accounts."

According to White House apparatchiks, it is now playing partisan politics to use their own terminology once they decide it's no longe [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 27, 2005 1:14:37 PM

Comments

How about "poop accounts" or "starvation wages"?

Posted by: praktike | Jan 26, 2005 12:45:43 AM

I believe I've even mentioned one of these phrases on this blog before:

Retirement Speculation
Forced Speculation ( I know they say it's not forced, but they say a lot of things not true.)

riffle

Posted by: riffle | Jan 26, 2005 12:48:30 AM

consolation prize?

Posted by: jerry | Jan 26, 2005 12:49:43 AM

wall street welfare account?

Posted by: jerry | Jan 26, 2005 12:50:43 AM

mattress account? (just brainstorming here, you mustn't be judgmental!)

Posted by: jerry | Jan 26, 2005 12:53:54 AM

404K? (L337 Pun)

Posted by: jerry | Jan 26, 2005 12:55:33 AM

I'm gonna stop with 404K, I kind of like that one.

Posted by: jerry | Jan 26, 2005 12:56:20 AM

We pick--you pay accounts

Posted by: wishful | Jan 26, 2005 1:22:51 AM

Mandatory Market Accounts

Posted by: wishful | Jan 26, 2005 1:24:50 AM

If you want to work the refs, you've got to work the refs. "Forced savings accounts" strikes me intuitively as something that focus groups won't like, but actual research should be done.

Gosh Darn, Matt - A couple more bloggers like you and the democrats will start winning elections.

This calls, basically, for someone at the DNC (or DSCC or AFL-CIO or MoveOn or wherever) to hire someone to do some focus groups and come up with a serviceable term that focus groups even worse than private accounts.

But that calls, basically, for the left-blogosphere, lead by its fearless unofficial leader - Matt Yglesias - to start calling it something so the professionals have a bar to beat.

I think the problem with private stock accounts isn't that their forced or mandatory, but that they are uncertain.

Republicans call them Personal Accounts
Democrats call them Uncertain Benefits Accounts
Media hacks call them Private Accounts

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 1:26:53 AM

Phase-out accounts

Posted by: Bruce Wilder | Jan 26, 2005 1:35:39 AM

Speculative Supplemental Accounts

Posted by: wishful | Jan 26, 2005 1:44:46 AM

I think uncertain benefits accounts fits in well with the rest of the phase-out of social security idea.

The phase-out of social security begins by replacing some traditional social security benefits with uncertain benefits accounts.

The next step in the phase-out is to privatize the uncertain benefits accounts entirely, leaving the elderly in the same situation they faced before Social Security was enacted.

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 1:50:39 AM

Market Speculation Accounts

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 1:53:15 AM

Market Risk Accounts

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 1:54:30 AM

Risk Accounts

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 1:56:13 AM

More Brainstorming:

Privatized Risk Accounts

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 1:57:47 AM

Vegas accounts?

Posted by: The Green Knight | Jan 26, 2005 2:02:06 AM

Which dumb*ss forgot to enable voting?

Posted by: jerry | Jan 26, 2005 2:10:29 AM

Gotta work in the word "tax."

Posted by: Jim | Jan 26, 2005 2:11:55 AM

Unknown Value Accounts
Unstable Value Accounts
Fluctuating Value Accounts
Gamble Accounts

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 2:15:54 AM

Commission Expense Accounts
Commission-Drain Accounts
Commission Risk Accounts
Commission-Paying (Risk|Gamble|Uncertainty|Speculation) Accounts
Uncertainty Accounts

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 2:21:37 AM

That will be all for me. Sorry for hogging the comments section.

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 2:22:18 AM

Since Bush is going to borrow $1-2 trillion (that trillion with a T) to setup the private/personal/whatever accounts why not call what they are.

Social Security Margin Accounts

Posted by: David | Jan 26, 2005 2:22:55 AM

Possible Loss Accounts

Posted by: Marilyn Silva | Jan 26, 2005 2:26:53 AM

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