February 18, 2002
What's Softer Than Soft?

The previous spasm of campaign reform brought us the distinction between hard and soft money. Now that Shays-Meehan has made it through the House and headed for the Senate, it is time to think of what to call the new third kind of money that will inevitably be used to evade the upcoming limits on soft money. It is conventional wisdom, at least among opponents of Shays-Meehan, that whatever kind of expenditure is allowed will inevitably expand to take the place of what is banned. (Hydraulic metaphors are popular here: if one source of money is dammed up, the stuff will overflow or leak in through some other conduit.)

So, what will we call money that is softer than soft? Squishy money? Gooey money? Runny money? (Dividing a class of things into subclasses that are hard, soft, and softer makes me think of cheese.) How about slippery money? Spongy money? Sticky money? Slimy money? Not liquid money -- too easily confused with liquid assets. None of these names seems quite satisfactory, but if S-M passes the Senate and Bush signs it some name will be needed, and soon. (Should I register www.squishymoney.com and all the rest? Perhaps it's already been done: I haven't checked.)

Posted by Dr. Weevil at February 18, 2002 10:00 PM