President Barack Obama offered his domestic-policy proposals as a “break from a troubled past.” But the economic outlook now is more troubled than it was even in January, despite Obama’s bold rhetoric and commitment of more trillions of dollars.
And while his personal popularity remains high, some economists and lawmakers are beginning to question whether Obama’s agenda of increased government activism is helping, or hurting, by sowing uncertainty among businesses, investors and consumers that could prolong the recession.
Although the administration likes to say it “inherited” the recession and trillion-dollar deficits, the economic wreckage has worsened on Obama’s still-young watch.
Every day, the economy is becoming more and more an Obama economy.
More than 4 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007 — roughly half in the past three months.
Stocks have tumbled to levels not seen since 1997. They are down more than 50 percent from their 2007 highs and 20 percent since Obama’s inauguration.
The president’s suggestion that it was a good time for investors with “a long-term perspective” to buy stocks may have been intended to help lift battered markets. But a big sell-off followed.
Presidents usually don’t talk about the stock market. But the dynamics are different now.
A higher percentage of people have more direct exposure to stocks — including through 401(k) and other retirement plans — than ever.
So a tumbling stock market is adding to the national angst as households see the value of their investments and homes plunge as job losses keep rising.
Some once mighty companies such as General Motors and Citigroup are little more than penny stocks.