Turn of a Phrase: The Slow Motion Slow Down

One of the fun things about publishing regularly is that on rare occasion, you get to coin a phrase. Publish enough and eventually one of your unique phrases will get some traction.

Folks who write regularly and have created a catch phrase include Doug Kass (Blah-flation), Jeff Saut (Ag-flation) and John Mauldin (the Muddle through Economy).

Inflation Ex Inflation is probably the best known prase I’ve coined, but there have been several others. The most recent was July 2007’s "Retail Slumming."Perhaps one day, the Pervasive Pollyannas of Prosperity will offset the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity.

One phrase I’ve mentioned a lot for several years now is the "Slow Motion Slow Down." The first time I used something close was in January 2006:

"In my mind, the significance of this is that the Real Estate may slow down in a slow motion fashion also."

And then more explicitly a few days later:

"Our expectation for the slow motion slow down rests on Real Estate cooling (which its been doing since August),
home construction and sales slipping, and prices slowly sliding. That
may stop the Fed from tightening appreciably further (2 and through?).
Mortgage rates staying below 6.5% allows Real Estate to maintain a
moderate level of activity — but one that is obviously way off its
prior white hot pace."

Which brings us to today. In a NYTime’s OpEd, Paul Krugman used the phrase "A Slow-Mo Meltdown." To be blunt, it doesn’t have  quite the alliterative pop of Slow Motion Slow Down; plus, a meltdown tends to occur rapidly, and the present meltdown has been going on for nearly a year. (Paul, feel free to borrow "Slow Motion Slow Down" — you’ll find its quite effective!)


Question: What other interesting words or phrases have crept into the finacial vernacular over the past few years? Anything specific that you particularly like or dislike?

If you can include an author and/or URL, that would be great.   

What say ye?


Retail Follow Up (Friday, July 13, 2007)

Top Ticking Real Estate is Different Than Stocks (January 26, 2006)

The Real Estate Soufflé (January 30, 2006)

A Slow-Mo Meltdown
NYT, August 4, 2008

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Bodz commented on Aug 4

    NINJA Mortgages – No Income, No Job or Assets.

  2. BobC commented on Aug 4

    Risk management.

    Oh wait. That’s been around a long time but it seems to have dropped out of conscious thought for awhile. Suddenly it’s in vogue again.

  3. W T F commented on Aug 4

    One phrase that should have made it: Markets Gone Meshugena

  4. Bodz commented on Aug 4

    BRIC – Brazil,Russia,India,China

  5. Vic commented on Aug 4

    The word you were looking for was assonant, not alliterative.

    Oh well, this is a finance blog, not a literary one.


    BR: I went alliterative for the two “S” words, but assonant — a word I was previosuly unfamiliar with — is much better!

  6. nades commented on Aug 4

    My favorite is still “asshat”

    I’m not sure if you created it but I think its a great great slander!


  7. AGG commented on Aug 4

    Using bland euphemisms or labels for illegal or/and unethical behavior:
    Spin —- LIE
    negative growth —– CONTRACTION
    goldilocks —– GOLD for 1%; eventual Bankruptcy for the country.
    flexibility —– BUCK PASSING
    agressive —– IRRESPONSIBLE
    responsible —– What everyone else but the CEO is supossed to be.
    Golden Parachute —- Golden SHOWER on the rest of us.
    conditional convertibility — U-HU
    write downs —- CAPITAL LOSSES

  8. Adam J. commented on Aug 4

    Actually if he means what he says then he should in fact use Slow Motion Meltdown instead of Slow Motion Slow Down. This is because they both technically imply different meanings. You are just implying this is a simple slow down and it is happening in slow motion. He on the other hand is implying that this is in fact a meltdown…which is happening in slow motion. Of course a meltdown implies it happens quickly, which is why he didn’t just say meltdown.

  9. Jason G. commented on Aug 4

    I tried to coin “blogorrhea” a while back… you know, those blogs or blog posts that just go on and on and on, with nothing substantive?

    Yeah, wonder why it never took off.


  10. pr commented on Aug 4

    “Incession”. I think I heard Insana use it on ToutTV. Heavier on the recession, lighter on the inflation as compared to stagflation, but still not pleasant. I particularly like the connotations of incestuous relationships, which sums up what has been going wrong on Wall Street/Washington the last few years but especially since the crunch started.

  11. Winston Munn commented on Aug 4

    We’re freaking doomed!!! – The Mogambo Guru

  12. Irish Blues commented on Aug 4

    From Diane Swonk of Meisrow Financial: “growth recession”


    [at about 3:56 in the video]

    Growth recession – “rising unemployment with not enough growth to accomodate those workers coming into the labor force.” Not a recession, per se.

  13. mark mchugh commented on Aug 4

    I’ve already become fond of the term bazookanomics. The earliest reference I can find was July 15, in the comments section of dealbreaker.com. The post only contained the word, and writer only identified “guest”.


    I’m using the term to describe any price action I don’t agree with (therefore PPT manipulated), but hey, he didn’t post a definition.

    I’m concerned that these new buzzwords are supplanting old ones. The one I miss the most is fiduciary.

  14. bluestatedon commented on Aug 4

    Abandominium: a foreclosed and vacant property occupied by squatters.

    I came across this one on CR, but I don’t know who the originator is.

  15. JEC commented on Aug 4

    Down here in Australia we’ve undergone a surge in activity in and around the prospects of Coal Seam Gas. The idea is that these companies can produce LNG for the higher-priced export market to Japanese and other Asian buyers.

    Consequently any stock that has ever heard of CSG rallied a few months ago.

    Not sure who coined it, but it is being called the ‘dot-gas’ boom.

  16. bluestatedon commented on Aug 4

    “it is being called the ‘dot-gas’ boom.”

    Sounds like a digestive tract problem.

  17. johnnyvee commented on Aug 4

    Truthiness = Its what you want the truth to be because it feels good, i.e., housing has bottomed and we will now see 3-5% growth.

  18. Darin commented on Aug 4

    Barry! You forgot another phrase you have used that has caught traction and you even blogged on it’s traction before…

    the big picture

  19. s0mebody commented on Aug 4

    I’d like to second blogorrhea and bazookanomics as legitimate words.

    Blogorrhea goes on everywhere. The people who post comments with the link to their blog attached are spouting blogorrhea.

    Bazookanomics is our national fiscal policy.

  20. Kaleberg commented on Aug 4

    I kind of like “The Big S–tpile” which I first saw over at Eschaton (http://www.eschatonblog.com/). I know it’s kind of vulgar, but it always makes me think of the Augean stables. Our financial system is quite a mess. It will take a river (or two) to mop away all the financial bogosity and reveal that the emperor has no clothes and mixes his metaphors.

  21. Eric commented on Aug 4

    “They know nothing!!!” A phrase shouted by someone to create the false impression that he’s had the situation figured out all along, when in fact he’s been at least as clueless as the persons he’s shouting at.

  22. TheGuru commented on Aug 5

    How about: “Sold Down the River by Our Own Government for the Sake of The Chinese?”

  23. A.C.A. commented on Aug 5

    Personally, I like “infestors” as an alternative name for the housing boom speculators around my town that are going down in flames.

    I learned this over at portlandhousing.blogspot.com

  24. rational commented on Aug 5

    How about “Freddie F**k”? Here is why:

    Mr. Andrukonis was not the only cautionary voice at Freddie Mac at the time. According to many executives, Mr. Syron was also warned that the firm needed to expand its capital cushion, but instead that safety net shrank. Mr. Syron was told to slow the firm’s mortgage purchases. Instead, they accelerated.

    Those and other choices initially paid off for Mr. Syron, who has collected more than $38 million in compensation since 2003.


  25. njdoc commented on Aug 5

    We now live in the CCCP

    Central Credit Control Protectorate or


    Union of Savingless Spending Purchasers

  26. njdoc commented on Aug 5

    ussr : union of savingless spendthrift republicans

  27. TP commented on Aug 5


    – CR regular

  28. Jojo commented on Aug 5

    Not necessarily financial related but certainly apropos for today’s world:

    “Take the bull by the tail and look the situation in the eye”

    And of course I think we can draw on the wisdom of Yogi Berra. For instance:

    “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up some place else”

  29. Sue commented on Aug 5

    “The Bottoming Process.” Or, just as frequently encountered, “The Beginning of the Bottoming Process.”

    Users: 80% of CNBC and Bloomberg guests.

  30. dhukka commented on Aug 5

    I recall Gary Shilling using the term ‘subprime slime’ a few times on Kudlow & Co.

  31. Sherman McCoy commented on Aug 5

    “We are all subprime” is one that immediately comes to mind. CR has used it for a long time, but I don’t know if he or Tanta coined it.

    I have to say, though, that I think your most poignant use of language was when you referred to the L.A. Times as “pedophiles”… even though this later turned into “bootjacks”.

  32. Noah commented on Aug 5

    CRECESSION – a period of economic activity where available credit is contracting and the cost of credit is rising, leading to a disruption in the credit markets and difficulties for businesses that borrow short and lend long. The result will likely be a period of asset deflation leading to a lack of growth, rising unemployment, and rising commodity inflation due to pressure on the dollar


  33. jf commented on Aug 5

    How about “Cranalysis.” It stands for advising investors to not take their money out of a financial services company, then when said company’s stock loses 95% of it’s value, claim that said advice referred to assets on deposit with said company, rather than investment in said company’s stock. Follow this by pretending it never happened and naming an imaginary country after yourself in which you and your fans can live.

  34. Bruce commented on Aug 5

    “Shadow Banking System”. I think Bill Gross created it. morphed junk bonds from the 80s.

    Greed is good. dead cat bounce. sucker rally. relief rally (more of these to come). don’t catch falling knives. rogue traders. Gen SMS. SeaChange. TreeChange. TeeChange. decoupling (my ass). delevering. off-balance sheet (come on Mr Thain…is it on or off?). liar loan = NINJA loan. smurfing. scratch and dent loan. take a haircut.

  35. Steven in Fly-over land commented on Aug 5

    I liked “Slow-motion train wreck”. Did you see The Fugitive? The same distruction just keeps going on and on; just like this housing market.

    I don’t know who coined it.

  36. Steven in Fly-over land commented on Aug 5

    I liked “Slow-motion train wreck”. Did you see The Fugitive? The same distruction just keeps going on and on; just like this housing market.

    I don’t know who coined it.

  37. Mark commented on Aug 5

    My recent fave is the neutron loan.

  38. Pete commented on Aug 5

    I like to call supply side tax cuts Wimpy of
    Popeye fame, cause they “will gladly pay you
    Tuesday for a hamburger (tax cuts} today”.
    Love “The Big Picture”, BR.

  39. Byno commented on Aug 5

    Slow-Mo Shit-Show?

    Bulge-Bracket Buffoonery?

    Freddie-Fannie Eff Up?

    Bernanke Bukkake?

  40. That Guy commented on Aug 5

    Platypus Bottom:
    A bottom unlike any we have seen before.
    -Art Cashin

  41. Robert B commented on Aug 5

    Phony and Fraudy.

  42. scott commented on Aug 5

    I’m sure this has been around, but I read it in Krugman: Our system now “privatizes profits and socializes losses.” Privatizing profits/socializing losses is about as concise and accurate as it gets, no?

  43. jan commented on Aug 5

    How about LSC ?

  44. steve commented on Aug 5

    on that line…

    here’s one I read yesterday.

    socialism for the rich

    capitalism for the poor.

    that about sums it up

  45. Mattie commented on Aug 5

    pale recession — Alan Greenspan

    5 May 2008 … The United States has fallen into an “awfully pale recession” and may remain stagnant for the rest of the year.

  46. John C. commented on Aug 6

    Gravity Stocks

    I started using this this term to describe stocks going in 1 direction, with no change. They were some of the best shorts I ever had. ABK, MBI, CIT, GGC, CNM, CRE, RDN and PMI. I truly thought all would eventually go to ZERO and thats why I referred to them as GRAVITY STOCKS!!!!

  47. mark mchugh commented on Aug 19

    How about this:

    Manipuflation n. 1. The process of creating the illusion that inflation has subsided by insidious means, such as intimidation, market manipulations, hedonics and denial of reality. Manipuflation rarely occurs in isolation, it is usually found in compounds of other flations (e.g. stagflation), or as a pre-cursor to hyperinflation. Although manipuflation can occur at any time, it has been generally linked to the election cycle.

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