Suppose President Obama asked citizens to exercise more, smoke less, and eat healthier foods to reduce healthcare costs. And let's say he was frank about telling us we have no choice because there isn't enough money to keep going the way things are going. Would citizens respond?

I think so. One of the frustrations people have with the current economic downturn is feeling they are helpless to do anything about it. We are told by the media that only the government is big enough to fix our problems. I think people would feel happier knowing that exercising and eating broccoli was part of something larger than their own health.

Or suppose the president asked the citizens who still have money to spend a bit more freely to stimulate the economy. Suppose Obama explained that our only two choices are that the government taxes us and spends the money inefficiently or citizens spend more of their own money than they would normally spend, buying things they actually want, and it adds up to the same thing. Would the citizens who still have extra money respond?

I think they would. Again, it would feel like you were doing something patriotic to help the country, and as a bonus you would get some new stuff.

Suppose President Obama ordered the power companies to make one change in policy. Not only would they credit the bills of customers who have solar panels on the roof when they generate more power than they use, as is the current situation, but they would actually pay customers cash for any energy created beyond the limit of their own monthly bill. That would make any home with a Southern exposure a potential generator of electricity. The President could ask citizens to invest in solar panels, as an act of patriotism, knowing the payoff would take years, but the collective benefit to the country would be great. It would stimulate the economy, create jobs, and drive down the cost of solar panels. And your neighbors could see your new solar panels and know you were doing your part.

What would stop Obama from asking the citizens to contribute in these ways?
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Feb 11, 2009
Just for the record, I think the bailout is a misguided idea and a temporary solution to a problem that is more of a correction than a problem.

However, I read an article yesterday that said the amount of the proposed bailout is enough to pay off about 93% of all outstanding Mortgages in the US as of 01/01/09. The “government” is going to give the money to businesses and social programs that wasted it to start with and caused all of these problems. Why? Why don’t they just use it to pay off 93% of all mortgages that were outstanding in the US as of 01/01/09? [93% of each mortgage, not 100% of 93% of the mortgages] That way, you actually help people. You save people from losing their houses. You save the banking industry because there won’t be a billion foreclosures. You save the housing industry because a lot of people who weren’t struggling to pay their mortgage before will take advantage of the opportunity to move into a nicer house or neighborhood. You will save the auto industry because a lot of people will take advantage of the opportunity to buy a new car. There will be an across the board increase in demand for goods and services from a population who is no longer scared about losing their home, which means an across the board increase in demand for employment.

It’s a win-win. The “planned” scheme is doomed to fail.

I don’t think the democrats would ever approve this plan because it empowers the individual and not the government or major businesses.

That being said, it’s probably not the best idea to spend 900 billion dollars based on the opinion of a police officer, who has a mortgage ;)

Feb 11, 2009
The government has been asking / encouraging people to eat well, quit smoking, and exercise for decades. And no doubt Obama will do the same at some point in his tenure. What makes you think it will suddenly make a difference? You seem smarter than the people who think Obama's mere voice can cure cancer, so I don't really understand the mentality that his words could change people who have been so resistant so such things.

Of course, the scary end of that is when they start regulating what people eat and how they exercise. While it may sound wonderful to have everyone be healthy, no thinking person can expect that that level of control wouldn't have serious and detrimental consequences (and eventually, complete societal revolt).
Feb 11, 2009
"What would stop Obama from asking the citizens to contribute in these ways?" Because post-9/11 George Bush basically asked us to go shopping and many people thought it was a very stupid thing to say. This would be saying a similarly stupid thing.
Feb 11, 2009
Or he could ask them to wear sweaters and adjust their thermostat to save energy and make us less dependent on foreign oil...

Oh wait that was Jimmy Carter.

The problem is that people don't want their leaders to tell them to do unpopular things. They elected them to solve problems for them, not tell them how to solve their own problems. The "spend more" thing might work (it did after 9/11) since people have a proclivity to do that anyway.

Not saying this is good thing, just the way things are.
Feb 11, 2009
I was with you right up to solar panels. While I think that is a great idea, and everyone should have them installed, I think right now that is going a little too far. I do think that asking Americans to buy local when it comes to things like groceries, would be a good step. Maybe encouraging buying things from retailers that are US based, selling products made in the US would be a good way to ensure the survival of those businesses, and it might convince other companies to stop importing crap from China. If those needs cannot be met, then encourage consumers to buy from companies dealing with the largest trading partners of the US, such as Canada and Mexico, as they are most likely to do the same. In the end, this might put a few dollar stores out of business, but that is a small price to pay to keep the american economy from dying and being sold to China. And on the plus side, it can all be seen as being patriotic.
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Feb 11, 2009
2 things here:

1) He'd never propose those things because they wouldn't further the Democrat's agenda. Empowering people only takes them off of government payrolls, which reduce the Democrat's voter base.

2) Funny how you suggest that he ask people with more money to spend it, considering Republicans are calling for a reduction in taxes, which would in turn give people more money to spend. According to Obama, this really isn't a solution.

The unborn already debt ridden generations of the future would now like to thank the 60 million of you who voted for Hope and Change.
Feb 11, 2009
People wouldn't stop eating crap just because an authority tells them to. For one thing, people don't change. For another, American agriculture`s about to collapse and crap might be all you have left, given that no one`s going to want to trade with your valueless currency or protectionist economy.

When Cuba lost Soviet backing and had to learn to fend for itself, the average Cuban lost 10 kilograms. I prefer to think of Americans as having fattened up for a long hard winter.
Feb 11, 2009
To answer your question - Lobbyists.

Why do you think Corn Ethanol is still being pursued as a viable means of solving our energy problems?
Feb 11, 2009
Ask not what your country can do for you in this economic crisis, ask what you can do for your country?
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