Economics

Obama's Irrational-Emotive Approach to Economic Policy

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At last night's press conference, President Obama once again warned that failure to immediately pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "could turn a crisis into a catastrophe." But what about "anyone out there who still doesn't believe" that the current economic situation "constitutes a full-blown crisis"? He had an answer for such a person:

If there's anyone out there who still doesn't believe this constitutes a full-blown crisis, I suggest speaking to one of the millions of Americans whose lives have been turned upside down because they don't know where their next paycheck is coming from.

This is a pretty silly thing to say, and not just because Obama pretends the argument is about how bad the economy is, as opposed to whether his plan will make things better. It reminds me of the know-nothing populism voiced by both participants in last October's vice presidential debate:

If you want "a good barometer" for the economy's health, according to Palin, you shouldn't look at statistics or consult economists; you should "go to a kid's soccer game on Saturday, and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, 'How are you feeling about the economy?'" If you want a detailed comparison of McCain's economic, educational, health care, and foreign policies with those of the Bush administration, according to Biden, you shouldn't pick up a newspaper or do research online; you should "walk into Home Depot with me" and "ask anybody in there." This is the sort of populism that insults voters' intelligence while trying to flatter it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was expressing a similar view when she said that even if the economy is not actually losing 500 million jobs a month, it "feels like 500 million." Not to put too fine a point on it, but such feelings are not a very good measure of how serious the recession is. No matter how many people are currently out of work or will be in the future, if you talk to "Americans whose lives have been turned upside down because they don't know where their next paycheck is coming from," they're going to be pretty upset. And even as Obama pushes an irrational-emotive approach to economic policy, he wants to claim the intellectual high ground by asserting that "economists almost unanimously recognize" the need for a big package of stimulus spending. Harvard economist Greg Mankiw managed to track down a few who don't, and the Cato Institute located some more.

I'll have more on Obama's emotional appeal for his stimulus plan in my column tomorrow.

NEXT: 800 Billion Reasons To Be Worried

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  1. Not to put too fine a point on it,

    Say I’m the only bee in your bonnet.

  2. Is there such a thing as being OVER-stimulated by the stimulus debate?

  3. I say nut-kicking is the biggest problem facing our country.

  4. Actually, asking the sort of folks who frequent Home Depot is a pretty good way to get a feel for the economy. They synthesize an opinion out of a number of news sources and their own personal experiance. I find them at least as reliable as Harvard economists.

  5. I suggest speaking to one of the millions of Americans whose lives have been turned upside down because they don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from.

    This is repellent populism. There has never been a point in the modern business cycle without millions of people unemployed, what does that have to do with anything?

    I’ve got a better idea. I suggest that Obama harken back to two weeks ago when he took his Oath of Office. It should be fairly easy, he did it twice. In it he swore to defend the Constitution of the United States. This would be the Constitution that limits the powers of the Federal Government. This would be the Constitution that he and members of the United States Congress are currently staining with all the old-man jizz this stimulating has proffered. I think Nancy Pelosi found her G-spot.

  6. Think about it for a second. They are looking to nationalize large segments of our economy. Newsweek just said we’re all socialists now.

    Hmm. Nationalism? Socialism?

    National Socialism? Now where have I heard that before?

    WAKE UP, AMERICA!

  7. I would have kicked in a juicy campaign contribution to any congressman that submitted an amendment to rename the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” to the “American Stimulus System”. That’s a much better name when you consider what we’ll get out of it.

  8. I lost my job 2 months ago. Since I never spent more than I could afford I am in pretty good shape. In fact I could live the rest of the year without a job if I really wanted to.

    I only made $50K a year its not like I was rich and just banking it away. Time for others to learn their lesson. They shouldn’t of bought that new car every other year. A house is a place to live. Not a short term investment.

  9. Good job! The vandals are about to sack the U.S. for trillions of dollars, but don’t fear because Reason is going to speak out against a way they’re going to do it. Tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, those who realize the trouble we’re in might want to wonder why exactly Reason and other r/w bloggers have been so completely ineffective. Sure, they put together a satire video – and it even got linked by Insty! – and sure they’ve written a few posts about it, but their brains seem unable to connect that with actual action.

    If you want to stop something you have to actually do something.

    As has happened before, others will come along and in one way or another try to dissuade you from doing anything. Overcome that, and decide you want to do something to prevent this disaster.

  10. What happened to No Drama Obama?

  11. a big package of stimulus spending

    Oh, it feels like a big package, alright. I just wish they’d thrown in a little lube.

  12. Why not the “American Stimulus System – Recovering America’s Precarious Economy”

  13. but sage – we don’t feel evil, so therefore we can’t be headed in that direction
    This is just keeping the promise of America alive!
    Now what to do with those illegal immigrants…

  14. DEY TOOK ER JERBS!!!

  15. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was expressing a similar view

    Barry, sweetie, you know you’re spending too much time together when your cycle is synced up with Pelosi’s.

  16. DEY TOOK ER JERBS!!!

    The American People now speak with a Newfie accent? Cool.

  17. Well, at least he can complete a sentence. Watching George W. Bush trying to complete a sentence is like watching a drunk fat guy trying to cross an icy road.

  18. DEY TOOK ER JERBS!!!

    I’m not joining in some sort of big, gay . . . pile up.

  19. “What happened to No Drama Obama?”

    It’s “Mo’ Better ‘Bama”

  20. Watching George W. Bush trying to complete a sentence is like watching a drunk fat guy trying to cross an icy road.

    Watching GWB try to complete a sentence isn’t hilarious, it’s painful. Maybe you mean watching George W. Bush trying to complete a sentence is like being a drunk fat guy trying to cross an icy road.

  21. Nah – the fat would be padding and the drunkenness would help the pain. What you mean is that watching GWB trying to complete a sentence is like being an arthritic old lady trying to open a pickle jar

  22. Hey, everybody! OLS has a plan! Didn’t you hear? There’s a plan now! That’s just what we needed! Our troubles are over.

    Hooray! Hooray for OLS!

  23. “Well, at least he can complete a sentence. Watching George W. Bush trying to complete a sentence is like watching a drunk fat guy trying to cross an icy road.”

    “Watching GWB try to complete a sentence isn’t hilarious, it’s painful. Maybe you mean watching George W. Bush trying to complete a sentence is like being a drunk fat guy trying to cross an icy road.”

    Both of you are full of shit on this one.

  24. Who is OLS? Do you mean Chris?

  25. OLS == Orange Line Special == LoneWacko == SelfImportantJerkOff.

  26. “Both of you are full of shit on this one.”

    I guess we’re lucky that there wasn’t an Ebonics interpreter.

  27. Both of you are full of shit on this one.

    OK, fine. Watching GWB try to complete a sentence is like watching Battlefield Earth. Happy now?

  28. This is the problem with having an INFP running the show. An INTP with an INTJ VP would be ideal.

  29. “This is the problem with having an INFP running the show. An INTP with an INTJ VP would be ideal.”

    Don’t you mean HNIC?

  30. Obama gave a speech here in Fort Myers today. He promised that if we pass the stimulus bill, the U.S. would become Rainbow Puppy Island. OK, not really. He tossed out a couple of scary anecdotes and said that if we don’t pass this right away, WE’RE ALL DOOMED!

    The text of his speech is here.

  31. His name is Chris Kelly. I REFUSE to acknowledge him as anything else. I know, I know. How do I know his name? It was on TWC’s or D.A. Ridgely’s blog. Link.

  32. What did the lawyer say to the investment banker?

    It’s nice not being the lowest form of life anymore.

  33. Oh. Didn’t know he had a real name. I thought he just ascended from the swamps one day with a craving for billy goats.

  34. Naga Sadow | February 10, 2009, 5:35pm | #
    His name is Chris Kelly. I REFUSE to acknowledge him as anything else. I know, I know. How do I know his name? It was on TWC’s or D.A. Ridgely’s blog. Link.

    If I ever get my hands on you, you little bastard, I’ll ring you f***ing neck. That was way below the belt.

  35. Oh, you dirty SOB. I had to pkill firefox from my terminal.

  36. Naga,

    You fucking dickwad.
    Hilarious fucking dickwad.
    I’m at work too, you shitface!

  37. Naga, you sorry sack of shit.

    Anyway, the actual info is here:

    http://www.hostsearch.cc/lonewacko.com

  38. LOL! I couldn’t stop myself. Sorry.

  39. I’m still laughing about it.

  40. I bet you are LOL.

    Doh! Why you little…………………

  41. I just copied the link and put it on Bill Maher’s blog.

  42. I ran into that one courtesy of a Lefiti spoofer. I save it for occasions.

  43. Thanks for the laugh.

  44. I just copied the link and put it on Bill Maher’s blog.

    Hehehehehehe.

  45. My bad Jamie. If you’re ever in Biloxi. Go to the Beau Rivage casino. Find the Asian restaurant and proceed to kick the shit out of the bartender there. You have a 80/20 chance it’ll be me. Just a warning though. Bring your Jordan’s. I run like a crack head when in danger.

  46. “I just copied the link and put it on Bill Maher’s blog.”

    Well done, provided you’re sabotaging that blog rather than providing ammunition to it.

  47. Hope and change!

  48. Barry, sweetie, you know you’re spending too much time together when your cycle is synced up with Pelosi’s.

    Homogeny of thought is vital to the strength of the prolet… err, electorate!

  49. “Well done, provided you’re sabotaging that blog rather than providing ammunition to it.”

    It’s going on the other Bill’s next. You know O’Reilly.

  50. O’Reilly? The autoparts store?

  51. The computer books?

  52. Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
    Trying to forget my feelings of love.
    Teardrops rolling down on my face,
    Trying to forget my feelings of love.

    Feelings, for all my life I’ll feel it.
    I wish I’ve never met you, girl;
    You’ll never come again.

    Feelings, wo-o-o feelings,
    Wo-o-o, feel you again in my arms.

    Feelings, feelings like I’ve never lost you,
    And feelings like I’ve never have you again in my heart.

    Feelings, for all my life I’ll feel it.
    I wish I’ve never met you, girl;
    You’ll never come again.

    Feelings, feelings like I’ve never lost you,
    Aand feelings like I’ve never have you again in my life.

    Feelings, wo-o-o feelings,
    Wo-o-o, feelings again in my arms.
    Feelings. . .(repeat & fade)

  53. Damn your black heart, Pro Lib! I feel like you just rick rolled my eyes!

  54. Naga,

    What? I was just reading from President Obama’s signing statement.

  55. Damn. I can’t find an O’Reilly blog. What a punk!

  56. Stimulus, wo-o-o stimulus.

  57. Oh . . . sorry. I’ve only slept 2 and half hours over the last two days and it seems to finally be showing. I actually had to take off my contacts for once.

  58. Does Ann Coulter have a blog?

  59. Naga, I hear cocaine helps you avoid sleep.

  60. Epi? Is that you?

    “Cocaine is a helluva drug!”

  61. My coke days were over before they ever began Warty. Nice of you to suggest it though.

  62. I’m Rick James, bitch!

  63. You’ll pay for this Naga, you’ll pay dearly. 😉

  64. LOL! Damn! That link is snagging everyone!

  65. Er. I would say the phrase “irrational-emotive” pretty much describes the Democrats entire repertoire of economic beliefs.

    It’s all emotional blackmail. Give money to poor people, because it’s wrong for you to have more. You should feel guilty about being able to eat if someone else can’t. You have to pay for other people’s health care cause it’s mean not to.

  66. Damn, they’re total dickwads on that Ann Coulter blog. They’ve got all these stupid rules. I have to wait for an administrator to email me before they’ll activate my account. I’m still waiting.

  67. “It’s all emotional blackmail. Give money to poor people, because it’s wrong for you to have more. You should feel guilty about being able to eat if someone else can’t. You have to pay for other people’s health care cause it’s mean not to.”

    There’s a line in a Jethro Tull song

    “I may make you feel, but I can’t make you think.

    To a population that couldn’t even learn the fucking metric system, this is what works.

  68. For those who want to see a recording of what Naga did without getting ensnared by it, click here.

  69. Let’s hoist our glasses to the miserable failure, that wee stuble of a squeeking gerbil, Wahacky Barracky!

    A man who shreds the constitution.
    A man who lies so much he makes you long for the honesty of the Hildabeast.
    A man so corrupt he depends on Pelosi to write legislation.
    A man who knows Barney Frank in the biblical sense.
    A Kenyan and a Muslim.
    A man who is bringing to socialized medicine so if you loved the VA hospital system you’ll now have to adhere to their rules.
    A man who has tripled the spending of Mad Georgie Bush.
    A man so dull he makes Bush look like Carl Sagan.

    Lift high your glass to Whacky Barracky and his cronies.

    May they all crawl back to the bottom of their septic tank and leave us all alone.

  70. Epi, stick to rolling fatties…

    Make the world a better place, punch Episiarch in the face.

  71. “Take this bucket and douse the fire with it!”
    “Dude, it’s kerosene.”
    “WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING?!?”

  72. Epi,

    What. Ever.

  73. I can’t find it on the Bill Maher blog. Link?

  74. Who says we want to learn the metric system?

  75. I can’t speak to what you want to do, but to any sane sand-pounder, learning the metric system would would sense to do, just to, you know, exist in the modern world.

    Do you buy Pepsi in those plastic bottles? Ever run in to the fact that a lot of standard (excuse me) sized things involved in construction happen to not be measured in imperial?

    Or that a rather large portion of the rest of the world measures things that way, and it makes it easier not do be an idiot if you can think in meters?

    I actually ran into this one earlier this evening at a happy hour I do with some friends. A guy I sort of know who makes wine was there, and I asked him how many pounds of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine. He had details from a mass production standpoint, and we were converting them to find a figure. The amusing argument became me arguing that a liter, in fact, is slightly more than a quart, and in no way could ever be considered larger than a gallon. Granted we were both tipsy, and it was handy that we had someone from Europe on hand to tell him that the reason the math wasn’t working was because he had it backwards (see, arguments from authority work, at least at bars).

    But our stupid measurement standards are nothing to put a badge of pride on. If nothing else, maybe converging on a rational system of measurement would stop us from throwing $100M satellites at Mars and fucking up because people couldn’t agree on how to measure things.

  76. Naga, I’m glad to hear you work at the finest casino in Biloxi. I heard they were letting some people go, hope you weather the withering. My wife will be staying there next month, so you better stop misbehaving or you might get sat on.

  77. I think Obamie is so lovely and so brillant. He’s a man’s man. What a chest and those pecs.
    What a cutre little butt!

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