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February 20, 2009

Can ‘Savings Man’ Save the Economy?

While the government is encouraging Americans to spend more money as a way to lift the economy out of the recession, TV ads featuring the superhero “Savings Man,” has been urging consumers to save for over a decade. The man behind these public service announcements, Dallas Salisbury, founder of choosetosave.org, says that the current economic crisis is the result of wasteful spending and wants Americans to save money and pay down their debt. . Salisbury’s idea conflicts with the ideas behind President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, in which the government will spend billions of dollars on infrastructure projects, education, and job creation. NewsHour correspondent Paul Solman talks to Dallas Salisbury about his cartoon hero’s message to the average American consumer.


“Saving aggressively is probably, at the individual level and at the household level, more clearly important and necessary than at any time in the last several decades.” — Dallas Salisbury, founder of choosetosave.org “To me, the good news about the current economic situation is it may well be just exactly the shock therapy that we need to get us to focus on some of the changes that are really needed and on, if you will, becoming responsible as individuals and responsible as a nation.” — Dallas Salisbury “As they grew older, they spent all their pay on fancy cars, houses, two lattes a day. They lived in the moment, never saving a dime. When they tried to retire, they’d run out of time.” — ‘Savings Man’

Warm Up Questions

1. What is happening to the U.S. economy?

2. Do you believe in spending or saving your money?

3. Why is it hard to save money?

Discussion Questions

1. What do you think of ‘Savings Man”?

2. Do you think that the government should encourage Americans to spend money? Why or why not?

3. How do you feel about credit cards?

4. Dallas Salisbury believes that it may take at least a decade of saving money for the economy to improve. Do you think that 10 or 15 years is too long to wait for the economy to get better? Why or why not?

5. Take a look at these Finnish ads encouraging people to spend money. Do you think they are effective?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript


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