The Bandaid Pulpit

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 11 2011 11:33 AM

The Bandaid Pulpit

Why is Barack Obama so bad at explaining macroeconomics? That was what I kept returning to during today's short press conference, especially when the president said this.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

The average American is not worried about the ins and outs of how a Treasury auction goes.


But why not? That's the problem! The polling we've seen about the debt ceiling, which shows that most people don't want to raise it, suggests that Americans don't understand how the mechanism actually works. It's complicated, but not so complicated that you can't explain it in a short speech. How many Americans realize, for example, that if Paul Ryan got everyone drunk on $350 wine and got his budget signed into law, we would still exceed the debt limit many times into the future?

More Obama:

Nobody's talking about tax increases right now.

But we are talking about immediate spending cuts. Both immediate cuts and immediate tax hikes are bad for economic growth. Why not explain it?

UPDATE: I am getting some comments along the lines of "no, seriously, this stuff is hard to explain." Sure it is, but presidents can do it. Witness FDR explaining federal policy on banking.


David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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