The Political Psychology of Stimulus

David Hirschleifer writes:

Regardless of who's right on the economics, clearly the ‘stimulus'
language captures the pro side perfectly, and the con side not at all.
Indeed, the term immunizes the mind to opposing evidence. After a cup
of stimulus from Starbucks, if I'm still drowsy, by definition I need
another jolt.

….Opponents have lots of metaphors they could choose from. Instead of
the image of rousing activity, there could be the economic ‘suppression
plan,' ‘deadweight package,' or ‘growth-retardant system.' For
alliteration, there's ‘prosperity Propofol.' To honor the frugality of
government, how about ‘resource-flush scheme,' ‘wealth dump,' or
‘porkapalooza'? As for mechanical metaphors, there's ‘recovery off
switch,' ‘opportunity crusher,' and ‘investment choke button.' For the
computer savvy, how about ‘stagnation drag and-drop-down device,' or
‘system freezer'.

In recognition of our gleaming new
infrastructure, there's the ‘road-to-Hell-paving project'. And to
celebrate the new Star Trek film, how about economic ‘stasis-field
mechanism', ‘enterprise eliminator,' 'job vaporizer,' or just plain
‘black hole'?

So, here's a political psychology question. Why did opponents gullibly
swallow the stimulus terminology, and thereby defeat? Any ideas?


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