magic asterisk

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an unspecified future budget cut, especially an imaginary cut.

Etymology:

  • Coined by Howard Henry Baker Jr., from the Reagan administration's use in 1981 of asterisks as placeholders for to-be-decided cuts in government spending.
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The other technique, known as the "magic asterisk," consisted of hiding phony cuts in the small print of various budget documents in order to exaggerate the Administration's success in spending reduction and to minimize the projected deficit.

Submitted on July 10, 2018

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"magic asterisk." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 18 Aug. 2019. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/magic-asterisk_26059>.

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