America: The Best-Looking Horse in the Glue Factory

Here at the Aspen Ideas Festival, we may be seeing the start of a meme about America's financial place in the world.

Here's the conundrum: The U.S. economy is finally on the road to an excruciatingly slow recovery. In fact, we're far better off than most of the rest of the world - particularly Europe and China - as their economies struggle with the prospect of recession. Investors keep buying Treasury bonds because America's economic future is considered a safe haven.

If you think we should celebrate being ahead of most of the world, you should listen to what economists are saying about us. 

Most, they're searching for metaphors to describe how really, we're no great shakes after all. (See our piece from September 2011 to find one of the earlier examples, from our own pens.)

I've compiled a couple of the better ones I've heard here at the Aspen Ideas Festival and on Twitter.

 "We're the best-looking horse in the glue factory." - Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, to Maria Bartiromo at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

"We're the best-looking horse in the glue factory." - Erskine Bowles in 2010

"The U.S. is the least-dirty shirt in the laundry basket." - Simon Johnson, economist, to Kai Ryssdal at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

"We're the least-dirty shirt. The world is full of dirty shirts." - PIMCO's Bill Gross to Bloomberg, 2010

"The US is the fastest camper outrunning the bear." -Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, joking on Twitter. 

Try out your own witty contributions in the comments below. I'll tweet the best ones.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.
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