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Saving the day?

[ 2011-09-02 13:32]     字号 [] [] []  
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Saving the day?

Reader question:

Please explain “save the day” in this sentence: With the global economy spluttering and financial markets on the rocks, the world need reassurance the US central bank stands ready to save the day.

My comments:

In other words, the world need to be sure that the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, will keep authorizing the printing of the greenback, i.e. pouring new money into the system.

Which, on a side note, is exactly what the Federal Reserve has been doing and has been wont to do all along, I assure you. And that’s the thing - too much paper money is a big part of the problem, and so how can you solve the problem of too much printed money by printing even more of it? Therefore, printing more money in the form of what is called quantitative easing can but only be an expedient and temporary measure. In the long run, it’ll probable exacerbate the problem – making a bad situation even worse – at the fundamental level.

And the Fed Reserve, by the way, is “neither Federal, nor does it have any reserves”, as pointed out by, among others, Rick Sanchez (It’s Time to Audit the Fed, HuffingtonPost, June 5, 2011):

The mystery that is the Federal Reserve begins with its name, since it is neither Federal nor does it have any reserves. Those two facts are the crux of the problem.

If you’re interested, you can Google “neither Federal nor does it have any reserves” and find out more about those two facts – two crucial facts, in fact, if you want to really understand how this world is run – but I’m not prepared to look deep into that intricate system here and now.

It’s too much work, at any rate, for you and I to undertake in a Words in the News column.

And so here and now, let’s turn back and further examine the term itself – save the day.

You may understand “the day” as in the idiom “at the end of the day”, which means the end of any endeavor, or, simply, in the end. Regarding the Fed, for example, we can be sure that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, more money will be put into the system and before you know, the value of the money in your pocket will be even more diluted and sooner or later – hopefully sooner – you’ll understand that the global capitalist system works such wonders – I mean, in such a wondrous way – that eventually money and wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few, very few, people.

To be fair, rags-to-riches stories abound, or at least seem to abound thanks to present-day media hype, but these are exceptions to the rule (In other words, the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs are real, but number too few to give us an effective argument). Overall, and, as I’ve just said, at the end of the day and when all things are considered, said and done, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

Anyways, for someone to “save the day” is for them to rescue a bad situation, preventing disastrous results from happening – when disasters have been widely expected to strike.

Where Federal Reserve is concerned, however, do not expect it to “save the day” any time soon – Not if America starts printing million-dollar notes – if the system is not fundamentally changed.

Alright, here are a few media examples of “save the day”, a great, commonplace and most useful expression to be sure:

1. The acclaimed General David Petraeus, who helped turn things around in Iraq, headed up CENTCOM for a bit and swooped in to try to save the day in Afghanistan, is retiring. Well, he’s retiring from the military to become head of the CIA. A big ceremony will take place today at Fort Myer.

- Good-Bye, and Good Luck, NationalInterest.org, August 31, 2011.

2. Overturn the federal law that allows states to ban interstate commerce in health insurance. These health care insurance companies are basically allowed a monopoly due to government regulation. Liberals have told us that the problem is with greedy insurance companies gouging customers, but it is the federal politician (currently the Democrats) keeping the possibility of competition out of this industry by keeping a federal law on the books preventing competition between the states. They say this industry is too important to the daily lives of people to leave it to the market to decide what should and shouldn’t happen, but isn’t it the market that best decides what should and shouldn’t happen? Isn’t it the market that drives a shoddy enterprise out of business, as that shoddy businesses competitors run commercials et. al. on the company to exploit their weaknesses and malfeasance? The government just bails the shoddy business out and deems the shoddy business to be “too important to fail”. What goes into the “too important to fail” designation? How many palms are greased in the decision (see sausage) making process? Politicians are the ones who created this monopolistic wall in the health care industry, why are we looking to them to save the day for us? I say we take the advantage of the opportunity this recent turnaround in Congress, in the governorships, and in the state legislatures has presented us to tell Washington: “Mr. Bureaucrat, tear down this wall!”

- 5 reasons to repeal Obamacare, Examiner.com, January 24, 2011.

3. Economists Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman and a Princeton University economics professor, and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc., say in a new report that their number crunching points to an undeniable conclusion: The bailout of Wall Street banks, the stress tests, the Federal Reserve's purchase of mortgage-backed securities and its emergency lending, and the fiscal stimulus program, saved America's behind.

Without these government actions, Blinder and Zandi say that the GDP of the United States would be about 6.5 percent lower this year, we’d be suffering deflation, and another 8.5 million jobs would have been lost.

Blinder and Zandi go on to write that the TARP “has been a substantial success, helping to restore stability to the financial system and to end the free fall in housing and auto markets.” And on the $787 billion fiscal stimulus, the authors say that the stimulus alone will add nearly 2.7 million jobs and 2 percent to GDP in 2010.

Republicans who are using the TARP bailout (passed while George W. Bush was president) and the $787 billion stimulus program as this year’s campaign betes noires, are essentially denouncing the fire hoses after the flames have been doused — flames that they and their ideological acolytes fanned.

What makes this all the more distressing for America’s future is that crises are supposed to be learning opportunities. We reflect on what went wrong, how it happened and who most contributed to the disaster. But polls suggest that Americans are poised to elect politicians who stand against regulation and the stimulus.

This doesn’t make sense. Voters should be rewarding the worldview that proved more successful and saved the day, otherwise the economic turmoil we barely avoided may soon be upon us again.

- Democrats’ economic views saved the day, St. Petersburg Times, August 1, 2010.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Trick question

All very well, but

The hard way

Wearing thin

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)