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Welcome to the semantic jungle

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Slash really is everywhere. (Ed Jones, AFP/Getty Images)

A reporter sparred with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today over possible reductions to Social Security — which might also lead to lower COLAs for federal retirees — and kicked off this surreal semantic debate:

CARNEY:  The President is interested in strengthening Social Security for the long term in ways that preserve the promise of the program and don’t slash benefits. [...]

Q: So the inflation adjustment measure is off the table because it would slash benefits, right?

CARNEY:  I’m not going to talk about individual items about the President’s policy that he enunciated back in January. [...]

Q: What does “slash” mean?

CARNEY:  Haven’t you got, like, a dictionary app on your iPhone?

Q: Well, it’s a word that you use instead of “cut.”

CARNEY:  “Slash” is, I think, quite clear.  It’s slash.  It’s like that.  (Laughter.)  It’s a significant whack.  (Laughter.) … I’m not going to put a numerical figure on it.

Q:  So it means a significant cut.

CARNEY:  I think slashing is a pretty sharp, direct –

Q: It’s not the same thing as cutting — the point is, it’s not the same thing as “cut.”

MR. CARNEY:  It’s slash.  (Laughter.)  And I don’t mean the guitarist.  (Laughter.)

Oh, OK. Thanks for clearing that up, Jay.

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  1. Paul Zito Says:
    July 7th, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    It’s OK, Jay, I’m a retired federal employee and am used to getting “slashed”…..I’m 74 now and have been working at a “real job” for 20 years. Why don’t you try it ? ……!

  2. Allen W. Smith, Ph.D. Says:
    July 7th, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    The following shocking video about “THE GREAT SOCIAL SECURITY THEFT.” was produced by WTSP Channel 10, the CBS affilate in Tampa, Florida. The American people must wake up before it is too late!


    On March 16, 2011, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) uttered the following words during a Senate speech.

    “Congresses under both Republican and Democrat control, both Republican and Democrat presidents, presidencies have stolen money from social security and spent it. The money’s gone. It’s been used for another purpose.”

    As an economist, who has been trying to expose the Social Security theft for more than a decade, it was refreshing to hear a United States Senator openly acknowledge the truth about the Social Security trust fund. But the looting of Social Security is a dirty secret that the government does not want the public to know about.


    Allen W. Smith, Ph.D.
    Professor of Economics, Emeritus
    Eastern Illinois University

  3. Fedline » White House press secretary Carney is major rock nerd Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    [...] exchange comes two weeks after Carney ended a semantic debate over “cutting” vs. “slashing” entitlements by citing Guns ‘N Roses [...]