It is time for President Joe Biden to use one of the countermeasures to Russia’s military threat along the Ukraine border that he has yet to deploy. In fact, it’s long past time.

But, thankfully, there is still time for America’s president to shift into people mode and deliver a straight-talking message that will resonate with its primary target — not Russia’s president, but Russia’s people.

So far, Biden has made it clear in public statements that if Russia invades Ukraine, the US and its NATO allies will respond with “severe economic sanctions” — standard government-to-government chit-chat. And when Biden sought to humanize his adversary, he chose Putin: “He’s never seen sanctions like the ones I promised will be imposed if he moves.”

But what America’s president and his speechwriters haven’t done is speak in terms that are meaningful to ordinary Russians, who will be the ultimate Russian victims if Putin invades Ukraine.

What America’s president needs to do now is channel his inner Scranton Joe once more. He needs to talk to the same people halfway around the world that he has proven capable of reaching here at home.

Biden’s best and brightest can begin by imagining what the dinner table conversation would be like in the homes and apartments of Russia’s families, who are spread across the country’s 11 time zones. They’re most likely not discussing Ukraine. Most of them have never been to Ukraine, will never go there, and, to be honest, don’t give a damn about Ukraine.

But they are concerned about the fact that they are already struggling to make ends meet in a bad economy. And they will not approve of anything their president does, such as invading Ukraine, if they later discover that what he did only made their lives more difficult.

According to a new poll conducted this month by the Levada Center, an independent public opinion organization in Moscow, nearly half (47%) of Russians believe the political situation is “tense,” and 41% believe the economic situation is “bad.” When asked what they expect to happen in the coming months, more people gave negative answers than positive ones: 49% expected economic deterioration, while 44% expected political deterioration.

So it’s no surprise that talking about sanctions has become the West’s only way to generate the kind of pressure and public opinion wave that even a dictator can’t ignore. And so we return to Scranton Joe.

Biden’s best chance may be to build an information highway paved with hard truths and obvious consequences. Russia’s impoverished families in cities, towns, and rural areas need to know what they are in for if Putin orders an invasion of Ukraine.

They must be informed that the West will act in concert to isolate Russia from the global economy. Russia will be cut off from the global banking and financial systems. Russia’s corporations, companies, small businesses, and consumers will no longer be able to conduct any of the dollar-based transactions and purchases that they have long taken for granted.

Russia’s families will discover that they can no longer obtain the items, large and small, that they have always taken for granted. There will, of course, be workarounds: China may be able to come to Russia’s economic rescue. Russia may be able to survive by becoming a ward of the country that was once considered their communist junior partner. Families, on the other hand, will have to adjust to life without the globally connected conveniences and comforts.

Putin’s once-proud superpower will survive by reshaping itself into the world’s largest banana republic, sort of. Except there are no bananas. But there are a lot of nuclear weapons.

Alternatively, Vladimir Putin can revert to the presidential ways he preferred when he was set to host the 2014 G-8 economic summit in Sochi. Until it had to be canceled because Putin felt compelled to seize Crimea from Ukraine on the eve of the summit. As a result, Russia was barred from membership in the G-8. This has resulted in the mess we see today.