The Los Angeles Times
The genius of language is to comprehend different things under a single name, but that can also be what makes it deceptive. Most of the proposals that President Bush has been touting to restructure taxes have been floating around for quite a while — offering tax incentives for establishing health savings accounts, reducing taxes on investment income and allowing workers to redirect some of their payroll taxes into investment accounts. But even critics of these programs acknowledge that they acquire a new appeal when bundled as part of "the ownership society."
But for all the slogan's domestic allure, the foreign press has had a hard time explaining it. The Italian daily La Stampa rendered the phrase as the "societa dei proprietari," or society of property owners. The German edition of the Financial Times used "Teilhabergesellschaft," or roughly, shareholder society. And a writer for the French business journal Les Echos rendered the phrase as "la societe de la propriete," using a word that can mean either property or legal ownership, but added that the English word "ownership" is so vague that the phrase is basically untranslatable.