Posted by Bruce Kahl on May 16, 2007
In Reply to: Termites in the woodwork posted by Smokey Stover on May 16, 2007
: : Who coined the phrase "termites in the woodwork"?
: The phrase did not have to be coined. In parts of the world where termites are native, or where they have been introduced, there are always termites either in your woodwork or trying to be. Termites are not native to Great Britain, so I imagine the phrase might there be used figuratively. Or perhaps termites have extended their range when I wasn't looking.
Damage caused by termites can not be seen and the damage occurs over a long period of time.
Your phrase was supposedly coined by a Mr. Charles Schultze. He served as chairman of the United States Council of Economic Advisers during the Carter Administration in the early 1980s.
He was referring to the effects of economic inflation where prices rise faster than a worker's wages causing a slow, destructive erosion in a person's morale and ability to buy necessary items like electricity and food.