ACCUMULATING PERIPHERALS


Construction bonds, and everything else by mattsteinglass
September 18, 2008, 4:47 pm
Filed under: President

One of the weird little things about the McCain-Palin rhetoric around the financial crisis is that Palin keeps talking about “construction bonds”. From her interview with Sean Hannity:

And we’ve got to get a more coordinated and a much more stringent oversight regime…government can play a very, very appropriate role in the oversight as people are trusting these companies with their life savings, with their investments, with their insurance policies, and construction bonds, and everything else.

A construction bond is a bond you take out when you start a construction project to insure against the possibility that the builder doesn’t complete the project. It’s the kind of financial instrument that would come to mind as important if you’re the kind of person who does a lot of contracting for big construction projects, like a government official or an officer at an oil company. But in talking about average people’s investments, it’s a pretty weird thing to mention, because unless you’re currently involved in building your dream house you’re not likely to have any construction bonds. It is however one of the first things that might come to mind as a financial instrument to somebody in a state like Alaska who’s been very involved in contracting and requesting funds for a lot of infrastructure projects. (Bridges, say. Especially ones that never get built.)

Meanwhile, this is also amusing:

And it’s a matter, too, of some of these CEOs and top management people, and shareholders too not holding that management accountable, being addicted to, we call it, OPM, O-P-M, “other people’s money.”

I don’t think the habit of creating “OP(n)” acronyms predates the 1991 hip-hop hit “OPP”; I think this is one of those cases in which an expression in common use in buttoned-up conservative evangelical parlance is actually a watered-down version of a filthy vernacular expression which conservatives wouldn’t use or probably even recognize, but which lends their used of the watered-down version an inescapable comic flavor for anyone in the broader culture. When I hear Sarah Palin explain the meaning of “OPM”, I can’t help but picture her explaining the meaning of “OPP”. On another level, it’s really amusing to hear the governor of a state that rakes in more federal pork than any other, and gets the rest of its budget from taxing oil companies and handing out the proceeds, sternly lecturing CEO’s about the evils of addiction to other people’s money.

Add: I stand corrected: apparently the slang term “OPM” was going around when Treach wrote the song. Going around in what circles, remains the question. The movie “Other People’s Money” was out that year, so maybe that was it?

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