Bad economic talk

An Econ 101 student could tell you that this is flat out wrong, and rather dangerous, talk. The government should not cut spending during an economic downturn, or the economic downturn will turn even worse.

At a town hall meeting there today President Obama tried to hammer home his message that the federal government needs to rein in its spending in tough economic times, just as Americans shouldn’t gamble their money away in Las Vegas.

“Responsible families don’t do their budgets the way the federal government does,” he said. “When times are tough, you — you tighten your belts.”

“You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. It’s time your government did the same.”

Clearly, the President is trying to promote an image of populism. I get that. But his message is wrong, and it’s dangerous for the economy. And I’m betting he knows that. Worse yet, it’s the exact message the Republicans used to fight the stimulus, claiming that when things get tough every family knows you tighten your belt – heck, it’s their exact words.

I think we cede an important part of the debate to the GOP when we start using their talking points. First, the points are simply wrong. Second, they imply that we screwed up. That we didn’t tighten out belt. When in fact, if anything, Obama didn’t spend as much as he should have to help get the economy out of its current rut. And he knows that, now. Why not just explain it to people, over and over again until it sticks? It’s what the Republicans do.

If we don’t learn HOW to message, it won’t help us to simply change our message. (Especially when our message is wrong.) It’s like constantly trying to improve sales by improving your product, when the product is already fine – it’s always been fine – but your marketing sucks.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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