glide path
n. The desired or prescribed path to reach a goal.

Example Citation:
"Though there are many today who say 'I told you so,' in retrospect it is clear that the vision of Oslo as a gentle glide path to peace was mistaken."
—Editorial, "The Taba delusion," The Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2001

Today's phrase hails from aviation where it refers to an aircraft's path of descent, which is shown to the pilot by means of a radio beam.

Glide path is on a lot of lips these days because U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan used the phrase in a recent session before the U.S. Senate Budget Committee:

"The time has come, in my judgment, to consider a budgetary strategy that is consistent with a preemptive smoothing of the glide path to zero federal debt or, more realistically, to a level of federal debt that is an effective irreducible minimum."
—Alan Greenspan, "Alan Greenspan Testifies Before the Senate Budget Committee," FDCH Political Transcripts, January 25, 2001

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