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Monday, March 12, 2012

No Silver Bullet

Like most people, presidents have favorite phrases.  One of President Obama's is "silver bullet."  In a Monday interview with KABC-TV's Marc Brown, the president said of rising gasoline prices: "The truth of the matter is that there's no silver bullet." On at least forty other occasions since 2009, he has said that there is no silver bullet for one or another policy issue.  Some examples:
  • On the stimulus, February 13, 2009: Almost to a economist, there was a consensus that we needed a large stimulus package not as the silver bullet to solve our economic problems, but as a necessary component to solving our economic problems, and in terms of scope, that we were going to need something between $600 billion and $1.3 trillion.
  • On energy, February 19, 2009: I think the clean energy dialog is an extraordinary beginning because right now there are no silver bullets to solve all of our energy problems.
  • On health, March 2, 2009:  I don't think anybody has a silver bullet when it comes to health care.
  • On the Islamic world, June 1, 2009:  And, you know, there are misapprehensions about the West on the part of the Muslim world, and obviously, there are some big misapprehensions about the Muslim world when it comes to those of us in the West. And it is my firm belief that no one speech is going to solve every problem; there are no silver bullets.
  • On postsecondary education, July 14, 2009:  Now, I know that for a long time there have been politicians who have spoken of training as a silver bullet and college as a cure-all. It's not, and we know that.
  • On secondary education,  July 24, 2009:  Now, there's no silver bullet when it comes to turning these schools around.
  • On aviation security, January 7, 2010: Now, there's no silver bullet to securing the thousands of flights into America each day, domestic and international.
  • On the Gulf oil spill, May 28, 2010 Sometimes there are going to be risks and unintended consequences associated with a particular mitigation strategy that we consider. In other words, there are going to be a lot of judgment calls involved here. There are not going to be silver bullets or a lot of perfect answers for some of the challenges that we face.
  • On jobs, September 21, 2011So as President Clinton mentioned, that's why I put forward the "American Jobs Act," not as a silver bullet that will solve all our problems, but it will put more people back to work.
  • On manufacturing, September 28, 2011: So there's not going to be one single silver bullet. We're going to have to keep on investing in research and development, making sure technology is developed here.