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The Language of Budget Deal Optimism

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

All sides continue to report progress in budget talks in
Sacramento. But don’t get too excited. Nothing they’ve said indicates that a
deal is close.

Here,
drawn from reporter’s experience, is a handy language guide for the real
meaning of politicians predicting when a budget will be done.

–   "A
deal could come within a few days" (which is what Democratic legislative
leaders predicted this weekend). TRANSLATION: "We don’t have a deal and we have
no idea when we’ll reach one."

–   "Tomorrow."
TRANSLATION: Within a few days.

–   "Could
be something later today." TRANSLATION: "There is real progress. Tomorrow."

–   "The
press conference is in at noon." TRANSLATION: "Call your wife and kids and tell
them you’ll be home late. We’ll announce a tentative deal this evening."

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