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The President’s economic game plan

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Kai Ryssdal: Everybody it’s the end of June today. That puts us halfway through the year and one step closer to the fall elections.

It also helps explain President Obama’s road trip today. On the heels of yesterday’s worrisome report on consumer confidence, the president made his way to Racine, Wisconsin this morning. Unemployment rate, 14 percent thanks to a loss of manufacturing jobs.

The president’s pitch went like this: That the economy’s definitely on the mend, but he knows the recovery isn’t reaching a lot of Americans fast enough.

Our senior business correspondent Bob Moon has more now on the administration’s economic game plan.

Bob Moon: Today’s Wisconsin event began with an appeal to a higher authority, an opening prayer. Then, Mr. Obama took the stage with reassurances that echoed those he’s been offering since he took office, that reversing years of bad policy won’t happen overnight.

President Obama: The truth is, from the day we walked into the White House, we knew that the crisis we faced was so severe that it was going to take months and maybe even years to fully heal, to dig ourselves out of one of the worst recessions in our history.

Some economists say Mr. Obama’s words aren’t working. Allan Meltzer is a professor of political economy and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Allan Meltzer: Businessmen, consumers want to hear answers, and they’re not getting those answers. They’re getting rhetoric complaining about how bad it was when he took over. Well, that was 18 months ago. It’s his problem now, and he needs to be doing better than he’s been doing.

Meltzer says the administration needs to give the public a clear plan to control spending and encourage businesses to invest in new jobs. At the University of Maryland, economist Peter Morici says the trade imbalance is another unresolved problem that’s stifling the recovery.

Peter Morici: The reality is, President Obama is continuing many of the Bush policies that created the mess, appeasing the banks, appeasing China, and at the same time, imposing costly new programs that bust the budget.

Morici says it’s Obama’s problem now, and he needs a new message.

Morici: You know, if somebody breaks your car but a mechanic promises to fix it and he doesn’t fix it, at some point he’s got to perform.

Morici says the public is growing suspicious, and it’s long past time for the president to back up his words with action.

I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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