Obama needs a (better) point-by-point economic plan

Barack Obama’s economic plan just ain’t pithy enough for regular Joe voters. At least that’s what William Galston, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, says. Early Tuesday morning, Galston posted a long epistle to Obama on the Web site for the Democratic Strategist, a public opinion and political strategy journal. The letter’s subject line was “Adjust or Lose,” and boy, did Galston rake Obama over the coals for his lack of a “clear message” on the economy in light of last weekend’s news that several financial institutions had crashed. McCain, meanwhile, “has filled the void with his own” message, and it’s one that resonates with voters.

“You are not offering a focused, parsimonious list of remedies for the economic ills you cite,” Galston writes to Obama. “As a result, few if any voters can actually cite a single signature economic proposal you have made. It’s not that you don’t have ideas. If anything, you have too many. At some point, more becomes less, and you are well beyond that point. You need to decide which three or four economic proposals are most important and repeat them relentlessly for the next seven weeks.”

Coincidentally (or perhaps not) Obama described a list of six economic fixes at a rally in Golden, Colo., just a few hours after Galston’s piece appeared on the site. These include:

1. Ensuring government oversight of financial institutions.
2. Reforming the regulatory system that does exist by managing liquidity risk.
3. Streamlining said regulatory system.
4. Making more adjustments to said regulatory system.
5. Cracking down on market manipulation.
6. Creating a financial market advisory group to anticipate problems in the system.

In typical Obama style, the six solutions were less like bullet points than long, complex policy morasses (read them in their entirety here). No word on whether Galston approves.


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