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The Democrats’ Use of the “Word Churn” of the Recession is Not Effective, Cautions a Columnist From the Washington Post

Megan McArdle, a columnist for the Washington Post, dismissed the semantics debate over whether or not the United States was officially in a recession and warned Democrats that engaging in such “word churn” about the state of the economy was not an effective political strategy.

She wrote that the debate was a distraction from the real issue, which was the state of the economy.

In the piece she published on Friday, titled “”Enough with the “is this a recession?” blather,” McArdle began by asking, “Are we in a recession?”

(Is this a recession?) Does it even matter?” She made the observation that “preliminary data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals that the economy contracted at an annualised pace of 0.9 per cent in the second quarter, following a decrease of 1.6 per cent in the first quarter.”

Historically speaking, the technical definition of a recession has been two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth. This has been the standard.

McArdle brought up the issue, “Therefore, members of the so-called “pundit class” have begun arguing about whether or not this situation constitutes a recession.

The discussion, much like everything else in modern times, was (for the most part) divided along party lines and became so heated that Wikipedia had to stop allowing additions to be made to its entry on recessions.”

Vice President Joe Biden has not wavered in his stance that the United States is not now experiencing a recession.

She gave a definition of both sides of the debate “The right maintains that, certainly, it should come as no surprise that we are in a recession.

What exactly do you not grasp about the phrase “two-quarters of negative GDP growth”? The left argues that the official gauge utilised by the United States is in reality derived from a mixture of indicators that are much more intricate.”

McArdle admitted that “it is probably irrational to spend much time fighting about” the definition of a recession, even though she stated that the spin emanating from Democrats and the White House of Vice President Joe Biden was “not unreasonable.”


The author made the observation that a lot of effort has been put in by the Biden administration into trying to regulate people’s impressions of the economy.

She used the following as an illustration to prompt readers’ memories: “Remember when inflation was going to be ‘temporary?'”

McArdle investigated the reasons why the talking points distributed by the Biden administration did not shield President Biden from the public’s disapproval: “Consumers were not deterred from noticing that prices were rising, even when businesses insisted that inflation was nothing more than a temporary hiccup.

It did not preserve Vice President Joe Biden’s approval ratings, which continued to plummet even as the administration insisted that everything was OK even though the numbers had dropped.”

She admitted that “in fairness, some would argue that when it comes to the economy, impressions can become reality,” and she said that this was something that “some would contend.”

According to this line of reasoning, “theory has it that if you can stop the media from talking down the economy, we might all be in a better position.”

On the other hand, McArdle put cold water on that theory, saying, “You can’t message people out of thinking their economic conditions have become worse — or out of worrying that this portends ill for the future.”

She came to the conclusion that “So it appears that all the efforts to spin it are likely to be in vain.”

The columnist continued by saying, “it’s symptomatic of a worrisome trend on the left to feel they can control reality by controlling the language we use to describe it,” and he called this belief “a hazardous tendency.”

After that, she went on to explain what she called “the left’s full-time preoccupation” with semantics.

One example that McArdle used to illustrate this point was the transformation of the term “illegal alien” into “illegal immigrant,” and from there into “undocumented worker,” and so on. According to McArdle, it is the left that is responsible for putting us on this never-ending euphemism treadmill.

She emphasised that “this doesn’t work: The negative connotations are tied to the fundamental concept, not the vocabulary,” referring to the research conducted by the linguist Steven Pinker.

She issued a stern warning, saying, “Meanwhile, the incessant word churn alienates folks who find the neologisms strange and off-putting, particularly less-educated voters who Democrats are currently haemorrhaging.”

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McArdle concluded the essay by giving the following piece of advice to Democratic voters: “You certainly can’t fault the Biden administration for making an effort to paint a more optimistic picture of the situation.

On the other hand, the rest of us, and Democrats, in particular, would be in a better position if those on the left spent less time trying to find the perfect phrase and more time trying to find solutions.”

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