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Does "the staff ragged in search of seemingly arcane data" mean ...

 
 
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 09:56 am
Does "the staff ragged in search of seemingly arcane data" mean "the staff who were poor in search of seemingly arcane data?"


Context:

Let me offer some examples. At one Fed meeting, the discussion droned on about the latest macroeconomics developments. Suddenly Chairman Greenspan broke in:"This is all very interesting, but does anyone know the latest price of tomatoes?" (There had been a freeze in California and some other parts of the country.) The staff went crazy, as did several board members. "What do tomatoes have to do with monetary policy?" one board member asked incredulously. Watching it all in frustration was the head of research. First, Volcker ignored his department. Now, Greenspan was running the staff ragged in search of seemingly arcane data.
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JPB
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Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 10:02 am
"running [someone] ragged" is a phrase which means making someone work harder than humanly possible (working them so hard they become rags). It's not meant literally, but figuratively it means they were running around looking for this and that and trying to keep up with the crazy requests being made of them.
ehBeth
 
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Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 10:06 am
@oristarA,
oristarA wrote:
Greenspan was running the staff ragged in search of seemingly arcane data.


you've broken the phrase in the wrong place

running <someone> ragged

http://www.english-slang.com/eng/american/i_r/6790-run-ragged


http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/run+ragged


Quote:
run someone ragged
Fig. to keep someone or something very busy. This busy season is running us all ragged at the store. What a busy day. I ran myself ragged.
See also: ragged, run
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.




Quote:
run somebody ragged
to make someone very tired, usually by making them work too hard What with party preparations and having to look after the kids all this week, I've been run ragged.
See also: ragged, run
Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006. Reproduced with permission.

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oristarA
 
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Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 10:12 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:

"running [someone] ragged" is a phrase which means making someone work harder than humanly possible (working them so hard they become rags). It's not meant literally, but figuratively it means they were running around looking for this and that and trying to keep up with the crazy requests being made of them.


Excellent!
So "Volcker ignored his department" means "Volcker ignored his staff (and put then in idleness)?"

BTW, does "Greenspan put" mean "Greenspan said"? (Context:
Volcker, Greenspan, and Bernanke would all admit that the Cult of the Chairmanship is overdone in a way that is perilous to the financial markets. Why? Because market participants develop false expectations that, however brutal the crisis, the central bank can always step in to save the day (under Greenspan's tenure, this expectation of Fed intervention became known as the "Greenspan put," an insurance policy or guaranteed floor in the minds of stock investors).
ehBeth
 
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Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 10:19 am
@oristarA,
oristarA wrote:
BTW, does "Greenspan put" mean "Greenspan said"?


no

Quote:
The "Greenspan Put" refers to the monetary policy approach that Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board, and other Fed members exercised from the late 1987 to 2000.

The term "Put" refers to a put option, in which the buyer of the put acquires the right to sell an asset at a particular price to a counterparty; as such it is exercised if prices decline beneath this level.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenspan_put


the definition was already in what you quoted

Quote:
the Greenspan put, an insurance policy or guaranteed floor in the minds of stock investors
oristarA
 
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Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2012 01:11 am
@ehBeth,
Thanks
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