I came across the word, “the fiscal equivalent of spit and glue” in today’s (July 29) article of New York Times reporting the inside story of the decision of Jay H. Walder, chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to move to a Hong Kong transit firm as its head, under the title, “Governor said to have irked Transit leader who is leaving.”
The article reads:
“He will be paid a much higher salary and direct the fortunes of a multinational corporation that oversees rail, real estate and economic development interests all around the world. In New York, he faced the opposite: a creaking system struggling to pay its bills, a capital investment program held together with the fiscal equivalent of spit and glue.”
I checked dictionaries at hand and both Cambridge and Merriam-Webster online dictionaries, I was unable to find the definition of “spit and glue,” although there was an entry of ‘spit and polish’ in the latter.
From the context of the above clip, I guess ‘spit and glue’ means patchwork or a makeshift measure, but I’m not sure. What does ‘spit and glue’ exactly mean? Can the word be applied to the topics of financial policies of U.S., Japan, or any other countries who are suffering mounting debt problems?