Monday, November 24, 2008

Telling Metaphors

Metaphors can be nothing more than rhetorical devices, but they can also be windows into the souls of those who use them. Free market types tend to speak of the American economy as an engine to be unleashed.

On the other hand, Barack Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee reflected a different understanding in explaining that the administration's goal would be to "startle the thing into submission."

While that characterization is not terribly reassuring, the pending announcement of the President elect's senior economic team is. Wall Street was hoping that those leading the incoming administration would not be ideologues without real world experience. That is why the revelation on Friday that Timothy Geithner would be the next Treasury Secretary caused at least a temporary bounce in the markets, and the additional appointments being announced today should bring similar reassurances.

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