Video Exercises

Watch the videos below and answer the questions that follow.

The precipitous drop in the stock market, the decline of several mortgage industry giants and financial institutions, and a widespread loss of jobs were key features of the economic landscape in 2008. As a response to the recession, the Bush administration and Congress approved a financial bailout package intended to help the financial industry and spur economic growth.

The following two videos feature George W. Bush explaining the bailout package, the reasons why it was needed, and the impact it would have on the American economy.

Bush Says Bailout Will Work
CBS News
October 6, 2008



Bush: Government Role in Markets Temporary
The Wall Street Journal Online
October 14, 2008

1a. What arguments did President Bush make on behalf of the bailout plan?
1b. The bailout package passed by Congress represented a significant departure from the "free-market" economic policies that were a hallmark of the Bush administration. It also represented a new level of governmental regulation and involvement in American capitalism. Do you feel that greater governmental regulation of the economy should continue, or would you rather see more "laissez-faire" economic policies in the future? Why?
1c. Do you think the government bailout of the financial industry helped mitigate the effects of the economic downturn? Why or why not?
2. The American economy also proved to be a key issue for voters in the 2008 presidential election. John McCain and Barack Obama both articulated their plans for economic policy and the solutions to the financial crisis in a series of issue ads.

Jobs for America Economic Plan
McCain/Palin 2008



Same Path
Obama/Biden 2008



In the above videos, what similarities did you find in the two economic plans of Obama and McCain? What differences exist between these two plans? Which plan seems more compelling to you? Why?
3. The economic downturn of 2008 also provided material for attacks ads from the two campaigns during the 2008 presidential election season.

Joe the Plumber
McCain/Palin 2008



Sold Us Out
Obama/Biden 2008



What criticisms of Obama’s economic policies does the McCain ad "Joe the Plumber" provide? How does the Obama ad "Sold Us Out" criticize the economic policies of John McCain? Which ad did you find more convincing? Why?
In 2010, President Obama proposed a smaller, though not insignificant follow-up, to the stimulus bill enacted at the start of his presidency. The video below, from CBS News, discusses the main components of the plan and political reaction to it.

Newly Proposed Stimulus Spending
CBS News
September 7, 2010

4a. What were the components of President Obama’s proposed new stimulus spending? Do you think these proposals could help the economy? Why or why not?
4b. How did partisan and electoral politics affect reaction to the plan?
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a satirical news program hosted by Jon Stewart. The show draws its comedy from recent news stories, satirizing political figures, media organizations, and frequently the show itself and its cast members.

Recessional Terms
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Comedy Central
First aired March 19, 2008

5a. The above video humorously examines how pundits and political figures disagree on when to invoke the term recession when discussing an economic downturn. Based on the discussion of economic policy in your textbook, why do you think this disagreement exists?
5b. Why would a political administration want to avoid the use of the term recession when discussing economic policy?

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About this exercise

This exercise asks you to view engaging videos and think critically about how they connect to the chapter's key concepts.