Narrative watch: “Uncertainty”

John Boehner, rapidly approaching skin-hair chromosyncretism.

Speaking to the City Club of Cleveland yesterday, Representative John Boehner (R–OH, net worth $4.1 million) said that President Obama had failed to revive the economy, that his entire economic team should resign, and that voters should elect Republicans in November. That much was unremarkable. The audacity of the second claim was kind of cool, but since it seems unlikely that Boehner’s policy recommendation will be implemented, I suspect he said it just to get a rise out of Joe Biden.* What was notable about Boehner’s speech was his repeated deployment of the phrase “uncertainty” to explain our continued recession. “Uncertainty,” in his formulation, is the hesitation of business owners to hire new employees or expand their operations because they’re worried about how health care, financial reform and other government regulations will be implemented. “America’s employers are afraid to invest in an economy stalled by stimulus spending and hamstrung by uncertainty,” Boehner said in one of nine uses of the word counted by Slate. “The prospect of higher taxes, stricter rules, and more regulations has employers sitting on their hands.”

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