Monday, May 08, 2006

Acronyms--Key to Bureaucracy

Today's LA Times has an article on The Fine Art of Legislation Appellation on how Congressional aides manipulate titles of bills to come up with a fitting acronym, as in:
"What do you call a bill to sanitize Congress of the current lobbying scandal?

The CLEAN UP Act — the memorable shorthand by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for his Curtailing Lobbyist Effectiveness through Advance Notification, Updates and Posting Act.

'You'd be surprised at how much taxpayer time is spent in offices coming up with clever names for bills,' said Michael Franc, a former congressional staff member."
Bureaucrats have to do the same thing. I remember in 1981 dodging the logical acronym of "CRA" for the "conservation reserve acreage" in the new farm bill for fear of some wise guy in the press adding the "p" for "program" to it. Instead we went with the forced and awkward, "ACR" for acreage--conservation reserve". But easy as it is to laugh, names make a difference. Just ask innumerable Hollywood stars.

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