Here's an indication of just how discredited the word "stimulus" is becoming: European leaders today agreed on a $163 "growth package" of some kind. The leaders were apparently very reluctant to describe it.
At a Los Angeles Times blog this morning, Sarah Delaney's coverage mostly bought into what appears to be a charade, but the headline writer at the paper's home page didn't get the memo.
Here it is, with the dreaded S-word slipping into the sub-head:
Delaney's only "slip-up" in using "stimulus" instead of "growth" served the convenient purpose of making Angela Merkel look bad, but in the process gave away the new game (bolds are mine):
4 top European leaders back $163-billion growth package
Leaders of the four major Eurozone countries agreed Friday to push for a $163-billion growth package, a week before a planned European summit considered crucial to the future of the monetary union.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, newly elected French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also concurred on the necessity of greater integration between the countries that have joined in the euro, a process Monti called “irreversible.”
Monti, the host of the gathering in Rome focused on the economic crisis of the Eurozone countries, said at a news conference following the meeting that “the primary objective on which we concur is for the promotion of growth and investment and the creation of new jobs in Europe.”
The leaders offered no immediate details on what the growth package might include.
Merkel, who has steadfastly advocated fiscal responsibility and austerity measures ahead of stimulus spending, said the emphasis in handling the crisis had been on “budget consolidation” but that it was now the moment for measures in favor of growth and jobs.
In other words, if we're to believe what Ms. Delaney has written (a big if), Merkel has caved on opening the government spending spigots.
In the process, we've also seen two confirmations (in the front-page headline and Delaney's text) that in establishment press Newspeak, "stimulus" is now a synonym for "growth."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.