One of the best examples of a synecdoche—a Belonging Trope—that we’ve seen in a long time.
The federal government has become an insurance company with an army.
Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein
Synecdoche (sin-EK-doe-kee), Greek for “swap.” One of the two Belonging Tropes, the other being the metonymy.
A synecdoche takes a member or part of something and makes it stand for the whole, or vice versa. We’ve been spending a lot of time on this nifty tool because it has become the most powerful, most frequently used political trope.
While politicians focus on sushi budgeting—cutting tiny thin slices out of the federal hide—nearly all the budget goes to Medicare, Medicaid, the Pentagon, and interest on the debt. Klein turns that grim fact into a memorable sentence that’s been quoted across the blogosphere. Why’s it so memorable? Because it summarizes a complex issue into an absurdity. Like what Congress does, only cheaper.