Donald Lambro

There is also a growing belief that Obama is pushing too many domestic-spending initiatives at once, attempting to emulate Franklin Roosevelt's whirlwind 100 days. While the stock market was tanking, the jobless rate was going through the roof, the economy was critically ill, strategic posts at Treasury were unfilled and the White House was holding a seminar on healthcare reform.

"You've got to concentrate on the economy first," Wyss said.

Republicans and some Democrats have also begun to question the "too big to fail" strategy that the administration refuses to abandon.

"We should have a much more aggressive strategy" toward bad banks, "recognizing that they are broken and selling them off," said Brookings economic analyst William Gale. "Alan Greenspan said nothing is too big to fail. In some cases, there is no reason to keep them in play."

There is a more fundamental weakness in Obama's recovery plans -- and that is his decision to use the economic crisis as a means to expand social spending at the expense of needed tax incentives to foster growth and investment.

Economist Harm Bandholz at UniCredit Research faults Obama for doing "nothing to stop the fall in the stock market, nothing directly," adding that "without the stabilization or recovery of the stock market, the U.S. economy won't be able to get out of this recession."

What should the president do? "Cut capital-gains taxes," Bandholz replied.

But Obama and his economic advisers are proposing to raise capital-gains taxes on investors to as high as 20 percent, a move that will cripple the level of capital investing needed to refire the nation's sputtering engines of growth.

Throw in the administration's protectionist intentions to reshape existing trade pacts and restrict future trade agreements, and you have a recipe for slower economic growth in the years to come.

Still, as dark as the economy may now seem, there are still reasons to be bullish in the long term. The American economy remains as resilient as ever, with one of the most productive work forces on the planet. Housing prices are falling along with mortgage rates, and the dream to own a home is still very much alive.

We've overcome wars, depressions, recessions and wrongheaded economic policies before, and we will do so again. We may be down now, but we always come back.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.