This presidential campaign has developed its own lexicon.
What happens if you dial 9-9-9? Who’s Ponzi? How do you get a
tax holiday? What’s a permitorium? Want to dance the Operation Twist?
Here’s a viewers’ guide to 25 words and phrases likely to be heard at Tuesday night’s Bloomberg/Washington Post Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. New York time on Bloomberg Television, and the debate will be streamed live
beginning at 8 p.m. on Bloomberg.com and washingtonpost.com.
This debate will focus on the economy, debt, deficits, taxes, trade and jobs.
CRONY CAPITALISM: Critics on both ends of the political spectrum
have decried what they call government’s penchant for helping favored companies. On the political left, the criticism is that the government propped up financial institutions such as Citigroup Inc. during the financial crisis of 2008, while doing little to buffer homeowners and workers suffered. Some Republicans have seized on that term and used it against President Barack Obama, arguing that his 2009 economic-stimulus plan poured funds into politically connected companies, especially in renewable-energy technology and the auto industry.
CURRENCY MANIPULATION: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has said he would officially label China a “currency manipulator” and impose duties on its goods until that nation raised the value of its currency to “fair value.” China takes steps in the market to hold down the value of its currency, giving its exporters a cost advantage over companies in other countries and contributing to the U.S. trade deficit. The U.S. Treasury Department releases a report twice a year in which it is supposed to identify any country that it believes is manipulating its currency. Treasury hasn’t labeled any country a manipulator since 1994. Under current law, there are no consequences for a country named a manipulator.
DEBT LIMIT: The debt limit is the total amount of money the federal government can borrow to meet its obligations, including interest on the debt, Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, tax refunds and other payments. The debt limit allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congress and presidents have made in the past.
Since 1960, Congress has raised the threshold 78 times, including 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democrats. On Aug. 2, Obama signed into law a bill to instantly give Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing power.
DEFICIT: Deficits are the government’s total expenditures that
exceed the annual revenue it receives. Deficits differ from debt, which is the accumulation of yearly budget shortfalls. At 8.5 percent of gross domestic product, the $1.3 trillion budget deficit that the Congressional Budget Office projects for 2011 will be the third-largest shortfall in the past 65 years. This year’s deficit stems in part from the financial crisis and its effect on the economy, according to CBO. Although economic output began to expand again two years ago, the pace of the recovery has been slow and the economy remains in a “severe slump,” the CBO said.