Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama's Press Conference: Speaking When He Knows What He's Talking About

I thought the high point - in terms of communication policy - of President Obama's press conference, just concluded, was his response to a jibe from CNN's Ed Henry about why Obama took a few days to express his outrage over the AIG bonuses. Obama's response: "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak."

Good for Obama - refreshing in a President and a politician.

Obama also showed an admirable sensitivity in his answer about adult vs embryonic stem cell research: he takes no pleasure in stirring up controversy. If and when science can provide through adult stem cells, what it currently can through embryonic, then Obama would be happy to go the adult stem cell route - as would everyone.

As for the economy, Obama stood his ground about not sacrificing health care, new energy sources, and other key steps to a better America, on behalf of keeping spending down.

And, although Obama didn't explicitly say this, I will: balancing the budget is not the most important goal of the Federal government. Instead, as FDR and John Maynard Keynes realized, and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has been repeatedly urging, the goal should be to spend as much money as needed to reboot the economy. Once that happens - as Obama did say - then all the other financial problems, including the budget deficit, will be more easily resolved.

The United States of America, after all, is neither an individual nor a company. Not even a municipality. We have never gone bankrupt, nor will we - unless we allow the country to get browbeaten by pursuit of balanced budgets.

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