Penn Jillette on Obama's Economic Policy

I don’t usually turn to magicians for commentary on economic policy (maybe I should), but I enjoyed this piece immensely.

Storytelling is an art — one which Jillette has obviously mastered.

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  1. Jack says:

    I’d rather see that magician try to be president… than see this president trying to be a magician and think this crisis will disappear with a slight of hand.. didn’t fool many at the G20….

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  2. Jon says:

    Interesting piece. Basically he said that turning a car into a skid helps you get out of the skid and that speeding up before a crash doesnt help you get out of the crash, ans he doesnt know what is happening right now with the economy.

    Interesting no doubt, but what exactly did you learn besides how Jillette learn how to drive a car and eat fire?

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  3. Leszek Pawlowicz says:

    As soon as I read this line:

    “Obama tells us that we can spend our way out of debt.”

    I stopped. Obama has never said this – never.

    He’s said we need to spend money now to get the economy moving again. You can agree or disagree with this policy. But ascribing the above statement as Obama’s policy is either ignorant, dishonest, or both.

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  4. tudza says:

    There are many things that are not intuitive that are still provable, the number of people needed in a room to insure that two have the same birthday comes to mind. The Monty Hall problem is another.

    Penn has two problems working against him. The problem is huge and hard to quantify and economics is not an exact science.

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  5. Mojo Bone says:

    Well, I suppose one could argue that economics isn’t a science at all, merely a collection of differing opinions sometimes based on empirical data…

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  6. Kevin says:

    That’s a rather misleading representation of economic policy. ‘Spending to get out of debt’ is not the same as spending in order to stimulate the economy.

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  7. Scott Supak says:

    Here’s Penn:

    “He tells us that even though the government had control over the banks and did nothing to stop the bad that’s going on, if we give them more control over more other bank-like things, then they can make sure bad stuff doesn’t happen ever again.”

    Steven, maybe you shouldn’t listen to anyone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. We haven’t had control of the banks since Phil Gramm’s Enron-type deregulatory insanity, or the under-capitalization rules from Paulson. So re-regulating the banks sounds pretty good to me.

    Turn into the skid.

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  8. Ike says:

    I fear that some of you are missing the point.

    When Penn’s DAD tells him to turn into the skid, there is a baseline of trust built on a relationship, based on a demonstrable concern for Penn’s well-being.

    When Penn’s fire-eating mentor shows him how it’s done, the mentor uses his OWN mouth, not Penn’s. That’s a trust-building action.

    When Penn’s President claims that a massive future debt-load is required to kick-start an economy, at the SAME TIME that the Chief of Staff is saying “Don’t let this crisis go to waste,” then it might be time to wonder.

    The trust isn’t there. It is not implicit, it is not explicit.


    If your Dad told you which pedal to press to keep from hitting the wall, you’d believe him,

    If your driving instructor SHOWED you which pedal to press, by doing it himself right in front of you, you’d believe him.

    If someone you don’t know called you while you were in the car (and they weren’t), and told you to hit that pedal on the right as hard as you could…


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