Working Paper, University of Utah, Department of Economics 2008-23
The purpose of this study is to provide an alternate approach to studies of the rhetoric of policy-relevant economics. Martin Feldstein's pro-privatization rhetoric relative to Social Security is first analyzed. A subsequent comparison his rhetoric to that of George W. Bush concludes that both the political and the economic rhetoric of Social Security privatization follows diagnostic, prognostic and motivational framing. Just as the political rhetoric of Social Security invokes the authority of 'ideographs such as 'personal ownership' in its motivational frame to draw on a society's 'ideological and cultural repertoire'; economic rhetoric employs what we will call 'economic ideographs' like 'deadweight loss' to resonate with fellow economists through an appeal to the 'implicit antecedent normative premises' embedded in the language of economics. In both cases, the motivational frame aims at persuading the targeted persuadee of the merits of the policy proposal or technical choice.
Social Security individual accounts privatization ideograph rhetoric Feldstein