The Washington Post

Goolsbee wins a dubious award

Austan Goolsbee, left, and Michael Boskin testify on Capitol Hill last week. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Goolsbee, along with Bush I council chairman Michael Boskin, testified last week at a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee about the state of the economy.

Goolsbee, responding to a question from Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) about the effect of foreign competition on the workforce, said the country needed “to make adjustments in how to train workers.”

Given changes in technology, he said, “we will have to and we should make quality investments in training.”

Technology has changed training needs, he said, but “let’s not overly dreadfulize it, if that’s a word ... ”

No, Austan, it’s not a word. Verbalizing nouns and such (accessorize, for example, or cannibalize) is common these days and often serves a real purpose.

But making, say, a horrible situation worse by horribilizing it, or overly horribilizing it, is getting too far out there. Even for an economist.

When apprised of the award for his new word, Goolsbee said, “I said that?”

Yes indeed, it’s at 47:53 on the video.

“Why have I been singled out for shamefication?” he lamented in an e-mail.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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