Wall Street Weaselwords

I do like Alan Sloan of Newsweek. He nails it here:

“There are times when having an English degree comes in handy for looking at the business world. This is one of those times, because the only way to grasp the essence of the Hewlett-Packard and “backdated” stock-options scandals is to speak in plain English instead of using euphemisms that obscure what’s going on. As even non-English majors know, euphemisms—such as “advance to the rear” instead of “retreat”— are words designed to make ugly things sound less ugly. Think of it as putting perfume on a pig….Finally, we have the tried-and-true euphemisms that Wall Street uses to help keep money flowing into investments. When stock prices fall sharply, it’s a “correction,” not a “decline” or a “crash.” If a drop is a correction, were the price rises preceding the drop a “mistake”? Of course not, they were a “rally.” Then there’s “profit taking.” Which is really “selling,” because no one knows if the sellers are taking gains or losses. I could go on, but you get the point. Euphemisms obscure. Plain English enlightens. So whenever anyone drops a market euphemism on you, tell her to stop prettying up pigs.”