Economic Double Talk

After seeing books on the market with titles like Say It Like Obama: The Power of Speaking with Purpose and Vision and An American Story: The Speeches of Barack Obama: A Primer, people might have been surprised to hear Barack Obama contradict himself within the same speech he recently made about the economy.  Last Tuesday, in remarks introducing his nominee to direct the Office of Management and Budget, Obama said farewell to the outgoing director and added, “We not only faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we also faced a $1.3 trillion deficit.”  But when naming a replacement to help turn around the crisis of events that he continues to blame on his predecessor, Obama said that his nominee “is somebody who has proven himself already equal to this extraordinary task.” 1

According to leading management experts, the first consideration that must be made when communicating within an organization concerns the message recipient’s perception of terms.  “They will not be able to receive them if they are not terms of their own experience.” 2

After devoting his prior academic experience to studying the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve Chairman is now being forced to search for solutions to Obama’s crisis in economic terms from a more recent Japanese experience.  Let’s hope that the U.S. Senate asks the budget nominee about his perception of being equal to an economic crisis that the Obama administration is not able to define for Americans with any sense of unity.3


1.  Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President in Selection of Jack Lew to be Director of OMB,” The White House,

2.  Peter F. Drucker and Joseph A. Maciariello, Management, Revised Edition (New York: HarperCollins, 2008), 317.

3.  Paul Krugman, “The Feckless Fed,” The New York Times, July 12, 2010, Opinion.  Sudeep Reddy, “Fed Considers Further Stimulus if Outlook Worsens,” The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2010, The Economy.


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