Featured Article

The Political-Speak Infection

Yesterday I received the following e mail from my account manager at Northern Trust Bank:

“I wanted to let you know that, in the next week or so, you’ll receive a communication from Chicago related to Northern’s change in fee methodology.  This will have a minor impact on your account relationship.” 

I replied with the question “I guess this means you are raising your rates?”

Perhaps this was being presumptive of me.  A “change in fee methodology that impacts my account relationship” could mean they are lowering my rates.  Maybe Northern is so flush
with cash that they are eliminating all fees and serving their clients for free for the next year.  Maybe they have determined that the best course of action is to actually pay clients to work with them!  That would have a really pleasant impact on my account relationship – but somehow I don’t think that is what is happening.

I have increasingly been noticing that our day-to-day language is being infected by political-speak – a nefarious attempt to hide what we are really saying with obscure or
outright deceptive verbiage.  There is a fine line between “softening” language, and telling an outright lie, and as a society we are increasingly moving the wrong way.  Or let me say that a little less softly…… a lot of people are just lying.

So in this new bizarro world of Political-Speak…..

Rich people who don’t want to pay more taxes and also donate to political causes are now called “job creators”.

We don’t raise taxes – we “increase revenue streams”.

Social Security is not going broke – we have “funding issues with our entitlement programs”.

And when the people in charge manipulate the language, it suddenly becomes acceptable for all of us to do it in our personal lives.

Lazy people are “motivationally challenged”.

Bratty and disrespectful little kids have a “spirited disdain for authority”.

The credit card company that charges a new transaction fee has not raised their prices; they have “reassessed operational costs and adjusted fees to reflect the current
market”.

Personally I really appreciate direct language.  It saves time and clearly gets to the heart of the matter, but after warning Northern Trust that perhaps in this economy raising fees was not a good thing and might cause me to do a rate comparison with competitors, I added the following reply:

Or should I say in “Northern Trust speak”……  I will entertain alternative
options to my fee paying methodology.  This might result in a very, very
minor impact on Northern’s bottom line.  But of course many of us might
feel that way, which might not be so minor.

This entry was posted in Investing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × one =