Political Haiku

Soaking Flood Harriage

Ξ Poem Flood Notes
© 2008..2009 by Andreas Wittenstein. Some rights reserved. (CC)

A rising tide lifts all boats: 1. This quote is attributed to President John F. Kennedy, who first used it in a speech delivered in Colorado on 17 August, 1962, after Congress authorized a giant dam project. Building on the metaphor of the societal benefits from the rising reservoirs of water behind the dams, Kennedy was justifying public investment in infrastructure. 2. Neoconservatives appropriated Kennedy's quote to justify cutting taxes on the superrich and raising taxes on everyone else, perhaps building on the metaphor of the high-societal benefits of a rising tide of red ink among the common people, or of a rising tide of tinklage from the tinkle-down economic effect.

as long as they float: 1. Actually, only boats that float rise with the water. 2. Plutocrats mistakenly believe that they can ride higher in their yachts if they sink everyone else's boats, because the shipwrecks will raise the water level. Actually, a boat displaces the same amount of water when floating as when submerged.

Leaky boats it sinks: 1. Boats that leak fill with water, and (if their average density exceeds that of the water) sink to the bottom. Idiomatically, a rising tide is called a flood tide (as opposed to an ebb tide), which term better evinces this peril. 2. Families whose income does not keep pace with rising costs drown in debt.

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