Rescuing the BailoutSeptember 30, 2008
As a result of the bailout bill failing yesterday, John McCain is now recommending that advocates of the bill call it a "rescue" and not a "bailout." He is correct that framing it that way would probably be more effective. People are going to be more open to the idea of a "rescue" (which puts the focus on saving people) than they are a "bailout" (which puts the focus on the fact that people are getting something that is undeserved). The different words lead us to think about different aspects of the same act. This is an excellent reminder about the importance of thinking about the words we use. The problem for McCain in this case is that it is probably too late since the term "bailout" has been used too frequently. But had advocates of the proposal used the "rescue" term from the start, they may well have found less opposition and perhaps even been able to pass their legislation. Regardless of your opinion on the bailout, let us learn the lesson about being very mindful of our word choices.