Obama’s performance on the economy in his first year can be described as a mixed bag at best. At worst, it has been the area in which he has demonstrated the fewest results so far.
The most recent surveys at Pollster.com show that a majority of those responding (51.2 percent) disapprove of Obama’s handling of the nation’s economic troubles, while 43.4 percent approve of his performance in that area.
But according to Politifact.com’s “Obameter” — hey, did they get that name from us? — 15 out of the 20 economic pledges he made were rated positively, as either “in the works” or “promise kept.” Promises kept include creating a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners, increasing minority access to capital, expanding loan programs for small businesses and extending unemployment insurance benefits.
Still, with unemployment in the double digits, the efforts Obama has made either haven’t worked well or haven’t worked yet. The rate of unemployment growth is slowing, however, so there are glimmers of hope on the horizon. According to news reports, the number of jobs lost in December was lower than the number lost in November.
The jury is still out on what effect the $787 billion federal stimulus package is having on the economy, since only time will tell whether the enormous debt we are deferring to the future will have been worth the benefits of any jumpstart given to the economy.
This is one of the most disappointing areas of Obama’s first year in office, but progress over the next three years could eclipse the dissatisfaction. If the economy rebounds, and at least partial credit can be attributed to the stimulus package and other Obama efforts, this year of economic woes could become a mere blip on the radar of this president’s legacy.
An economy cannot turn on a dime, but at the same time, blaming Bush can only work for so long.