pushing on a string
 n.— «The attempt to pump money into the banking system failed, and as a result, the phrase “pushing on a string” was coined to describe the futility of inflationary policies in this environment.» —“Wisdom from Richard Russell on the Inflation/Deflation Topic” by Jay Taylor HoweStreet.com Nov. 21, 2005. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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