Enronomics


Enronomics
(en.ruh.NOM.iks)
n.
A fiscal policy or business strategy that relies on dubious accounting practices, overly-optimistic economic forecasts, and unsustainably high levels of spending.
Example Citation:
Democratic National Committee staffers urge candidates to run against "Enronomics," an albatross even worse than recession that they hope to hang around Republican necks.
— Martin Kaplan, "How Enron stole center stage," USA Today, January 23, 2002
Earliest Citation:
Hasta linguini to the Enron scandal; in normal times, this saga of scamming, looting, and finally meltdown might play like Whitewater and the savings and loan collapse rolled into one. From 1993 to 2000, the company and its employees gave George W. $2 million — coconuts next to Whitewater's peanuts. Its chief, Kenneth Lay, huddled with Vice President Cheney to draft a national energy policy based on the same Enronomics as its own disastrous business strategy.
— Eric Scigliano, "Time after time," Seattle Weekly, January 3, 2002
Enron-related coinages (a.k.a. enronyms) are popping up all over the place:
Enronitis:
What's the ripple effect of Enron? Where does it leave the power trading business and how long does it cast a pall over the sector? It certainly cast a pall over the group. For the last couple of weeks in utility land, every day has been a red page on the screen. I don't know how long this will go on, but the market has become more sensitive to any news that has any connotation of Enronitis.
— Ian McDonald, "10 Questions With Utilitarian Bern Fleming," TheStreet.com, December 17, 2001
Enronic:
And where waters are seemingly murky between government and business interests, could such a situation in the future be considered slightly 'Enronic?'
— Cheryl Glaser, "Marketplace," Minnesota Public Radio, January 30, 2002
Enronish:
"I think the curtain comes down now — she has to go home," Michael Wolff, the media columnist at New York Magazine who has frequently sparred with Ms. Brown. "This is no ordinary failure. She staked everything and was wiped out. She's a little Enronish. There was a lot of illusion. But over time at Talk you could see Tina as the depreciating asset. She started out fully valued."
— Allessandra Stanley, "Talk Ends and Spin Begins," The New York Times, January 20, 2002
Enronian:
Some described the University of Texas football loss to Colorado - and a chance at the national championship — as a failure of Enronian proportion.
— Meighan, "Enron's downfall stuns Texas," Corpus Christi Caller-Times, December 15, 2001
Enronista:
A properly functioning system of accountability and transparency would have exposed Enron's flaws — its deceits — long before honest employees and shareholders saw their retirement savings destroyed by scoundrels. And the first impressions of the supposedly backwater Virginians who recognized the Enronistas as "arrogant" hit the mark.
— "Arrogance" (editorial), The Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 17, 2002
Enronism:
The implosion of the magazine [Talk] that debuted with astonishing buzz in 1999 is a large deal in the schadenfreude-rich magazine world in general and the straight-edged streets of Manhattan in particular. Brown spent about $50 million of other people's money on the way down. ... "Enronish" captures the spirit of the big magazine cannonball but not its style. It is clunky. "Enronian" rolls off the tongue. Someone responsible for large-scale destruction is then an "enronista." The process of destruction: "enronism."
— Jim Sullivan, "Names and Faces," The Boston Globe, January 22, 2002
Enron as a verb:
I don't want to Enron the people of the United States. I don't want to see them holding the bag at the end of the day just like Enron employees have held the bag. I don't want to destroy their Social Security system. I don't want to destroy their Medicare system. I don't want to destroy their ultimate ability to look with confidence at their retirement.
— Tom Daschle, Quoted on CNN, January 23, 2002
Enronize:
When Enron's off-the-book losses came to light, the company froze trading in 401K accounts and employees had to stand by and watch their life savings vanish. Many lost hundreds of thousands of dollars — in at least one case more than a million — while top executives allotted themselves bonuses. It seems to me an absolute necessity for Congress to pass a law to keep employees of other companies from having their 401K plans "Enronized."
— Waldo Proffitt, "Protect 401K savings by law," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, January 6, 2002
Gov. James E. McGreevey, criticizing New Jersey Republicans' handling of budget numbers, used a new term: "Enronize," meaning "to hide fiscal shortcomings through slick financial legerdemain and bald-faced lies."
— Paul Zielbauer, "Hear the One About...?," The New York Times, February 3, 2002
End-ron (a play on end-run):
If it turns out someone illegally cut corners, maybe this one will become known as "End-ron."
— Paul Farhi, "The Essentials Of a Washington Scandal," The Washington Post, January 16, 2002
Enron-around (a play on runaround):
The Enron-Around (headline)
--Paul Tharp, The New York Post, December 1, 2001
Notes:
This term began life in the rough-and-tumble world of partisan U.S. politics, where it was used by Democrats as an insulting reference to Republican economic policies:
Surely what happened to the employees of Enron can only be described as trickle down Enronomics! That's exactly what Bush is doing to the average worker in America.
— Walt Starr, "It's the Enronomy, Stupid," Democratic Undergound, December 14, 2001
Nothing very subtle about that! This term will only last if it gets picked up and used in non-partisan contexts.
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