Exactly one month ago, the President started to include hopeful messages in his speeches, answers and comments about the economy. Before that, he had stuck to a steady drumbeat of fear-inducing warnings, often evoking “The Great Depression,” in an effort to gain support for his economic stimulus package. Unfortunately, as economist Robert Shiller wrote in the NYT on February 22, President Obama’s “Depression narrative could (have) easily (ended) up as a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Fortunately, the President suddenly turned to a hope offensive as soon as the stimulus package passed, or as we say here, he hopped aboard the Hope Train. In an apparent celebration of his one month journey, in his press conference tonight President Obama claimed, “early progress…in his aggressive campaign to lead the nation out of economic chaos and declared that despite obstacles ahead, ‘we’re moving in the right direction.'”
Speaking of Robert Shiller, he and fellow economist George Akerlof, have just released a book called, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism that more deeply explores the issues raised in his essay last month. Markets are feelings, as well as conversations, it appears. I’ve just downloaded the book to my Kindle.