Deficit balloons are the new crash blossoms


  1. Marian said,

    October 27, 2018 @ 7:45 pm

    Absolutely how I read it. Perhaps primed by your headline, but still.
    LOL black deficit balloons to celebrate McConnell's birthday party

  2. Simon Wright said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 4:01 am

    Is "safety net" being used as a verb in that headline? or an adjective?

  3. Rick Rubenstein said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 4:19 am

    I read this several times completely unable to come up with an erroneous parsing — and then realized the interpretation I had was in fact the erroneous one. The similarity to the contextually appropriate "trial balloons" sucked me in beautifully.

  4. KevinM said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 10:20 am

    How many deficit balloons? 99? Also, do you get safety net by subtracting risk from safety gross?

  5. Robert Coren said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 11:17 am

    @Simon Wright: It's being used as an adjective — "safety net programs" -> programs providing a safety net. If I were using it this way I'd put in a hyphen.

    ("Look to" in this context means "consider modifying [i.e., gutting]".)

  6. chris said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 8:28 pm

    For non-USAns not overly familiar with our politics, it may help to know that "safety net" is a common term for programs that have aid to the poor as a major goal (because they are intended to make it so an economic "fall" won't kill you), and McConnell and his party are always looking for a reason to cut them.

  7. Vulcan With a Mullet said,

    October 29, 2018 @ 8:47 am

    Deficit balloons might be a good way to harness the power of governmental hot air…

    Just floating the suggestion.

  8. BZ said,

    October 29, 2018 @ 12:19 pm

    I think "deficit balloons" is enough of a journalistic cliche in the USA that everyone would understand a headline like this. In fact, when I read the title of the post, that was my initial reading of "deficit balloons" and the "are" made me go back and re-evaluate.

  9. 번하드 said,

    October 30, 2018 @ 9:53 am

    The problem with news isn't limited to headlines.
    Today at the BBC: (

    "A former nurse has admitted murdering 100 patients during the first day of his trial, making him one of Germany's worst post-war serial killers."

  10. dainichi said,

    October 31, 2018 @ 1:55 am

    Of course, this wouldn't have been a problem in languages (like, say, other Germanic languages) that don't have spaces in the middle of their words =). Also note that the ambiguity would not be there (or at least be easier to avoid) in speech, since "balloons" as a verb receives full stress, but only secondary stress as part of a compound noun.

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