Clogged systems and toxic assets
News metaphors, neoliberal ideology, and the United States “Wall Street Bailout” of 2008
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, also known as the “Wall Street Bailout,” authorized the allocation of $700B US to address the financial crisis of 2008. The “bailout” did not pass easily; members of the United States Congress reported feedback from angry constituents urging them to vote against it, and the measure failed its first vote in the House of Representatives. This essay focuses on metaphors used in public discourse to describe the “bailout” in the ten days between its introduction to Congress and its failure in the House. Advocates of the economic stimulus plan relied on metaphors that evacuated human agency, portraying the plan as an emergency measure necessitated by crises such as illness, natural disasters, and mechanical failures. Opponents to the plan extended and modified the administration’s metaphors to communicate a critique of the transfer of federal funds to private entities for the good of the public.
Keywords: metaphor, public discourse, financial crisis, neoliberalism, ideology
Published online: 30 June 2011
Cited by 12 other publications
Arrese, Ángel & Alfonso Vara-Miguel
Borriello, Arthur & Samuele Mazzolini
Burgers, Christian & Ahrens, Kathleen
Comolli, Chiara L & Daniele Vignoli
Hendrikse, Reijer P & James D Sidaway
Joris, Willem, Liina Puustinen & Leen d’Haenens
O’Mara-Shimek, Michael, Manuel Guillén-Parra & Ana Ortega-Larrea
Shrikant, Natasha & Jeanette Musselwhite
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