The more serious game of US debt led to widespread use of the phrase in the mainstream media. Usage hit 500 times a month last month from about 100 two years ago.
"Mr Obama is often known to agree that lawmakers are too apt to 'kick the can down the road' rather than confront difficult issues." (The New York Times, August 3)
"The outstanding irony of the entire debate is that, despite the participants' declared intention not to merely 'kick the can down the road', that's what they've done." (The Los Angeles Times, August 3)
Eventually, the can stops rolling. Take the case of Jefferson County, Alabama, which faces bankruptcy after "clever" financial derivatives backfired into a debt mountain. "Welcome to Jefferson County. This is the end of the road, where the can cannot be kicked any farther." (The New York Times, July 30)