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When America’s 45th president primed the pump

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-05-2017 Sundeep Khanna

Let’s get the exchange right first.

“Economist: Priming the pump?

America’s 45th president: Yeah, have you heard it?

Economist: Yes.

America’s 45th president: Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good.” Read More

Read that as “Because I (as in America’s 45th president) haven’t heard it.” So what’s wrong with that? Why such consternation bordering on disbelief and doubt? Indeed, many have even ventured to say America’s 45th president is bending the truth a bit. As if.

Oh, we know that Investopedia describes pump priming as “the action taken to stimulate an economy, usually during a recessionary period, through government spending, and interest rate and tax reductions. The term pump priming is derived from the operation of older pumps; a suction valve had to be primed with water so that the pump would function properly.”

The venerable Merriam-Webster dictionary folks too rushed to clarify on Twitter that “‘Pump priming’ has been used to refer to government investment expenditures since at least 1933.” That’s a full 13 years before America’s 45th president was born.

Picture, if you will, the future American president going through his 70 years in business and lately politics, busying himself with such weighty matters as towers and toupees. Why would an obscure economic principle, more associated with such non-entities as John Maynard Keynes, cross his path?

Did you know about the Lemons Problem or Heckscher-Ohlin Trade Theory or Khazzoom–Brookes Postulate or the Black-Scholes Theorem? Go on admit it, you just googled it. Okay, how about the Power to Ignorance Ratio?

Yes?

Not really.

Come on, you haven’t heard that expression used before. Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of minutes ago and I thought it was pretty good!

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