“Senator, what economy are you talking about?”

“What’s more fundamental than the ability to find a job that pays the bills and can raise a family? What’s more fundamental than knowing that your life savings is secure, and that you can retire with dignity? What’s more fundamental than knowing that you’ll have a roof over your head at the end of the day? What’s more fundamental than that?”

It’s an ill wind that blows no one good. The Lehman collapse at least gave Barack Obama the opportunity to change the conversation away from lipstick:

It’s not that I think John McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of most Americans. I just think doesn’t know. He doesn’t get what’s happening between the mountains in Sedona where he lives and the corridors of power where he works. Why else would he say that we’ve made great progress economically under George Bush? Why else would he say that the economy isn’t something he understands as well as he should? Why else would he say, today, of all days – just a few hours ago – that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong?

Senator, what economy are you talking about?

What’s more fundamental than the ability to find a job that pays the bills and can raise a family? What’s more fundamental than knowing that your life savings is secure, and that you can retire with dignity? What’s more fundamental than knowing that you’ll have a roof over your head at the end of the day? What’s more fundamental than that?

Colorado, the fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – that promise that America is the place where you can make it if you try – the promise that is the only reason that we are standing here today.

Video at C&L

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com