WASHINGTON -- A year and a half into his presidency, more Americans blame Barack Obama for the dismal state of the U.S. economy than George W. Bush. Obama has been traveling the country insisting that a weakening economy and high unemployment are still Bush's fault, but more and more voters are no longer buying that lame excuse, according to a new Rasmussen poll. It shows that 48 percent of Americans now say the president is to blame for the anemic recovery, versus 47 percent who still fault Bush.
With the economic growth rate sinking to a mediocre 2.4 percent, and major states experiencing jobless rates between 9 percent and 14 percent, it is dawning on voters that the Obama administration doesn't have a clue how to get the economy moving again.
The evidence for this can be found in the Democrats' latest plan on Capitol Hill: a $26 billion spending bill to help debt-ridden states pay their bills and keep teachers and other public employees on the payroll. No incentives to boost business investment or job creation. No plan to unlock venture capital for economic expansion and new start-up firms. No new trade initiatives to expand markets abroad for American-made goods and services.
Just more of the same bailouts to strengthen cash-strapped state governments at the expense of the private sector.
There is nothing wrong with the American economy that the right pro-growth incentives cannot fix. But Obama and the Democrats in Congress oppose such incentives, insisting that still more spending is the answer to our economic woes, even though it hasn't worked in the past.
Obama was out on the campaign trail this past week, maintaining that the Republicans and their allies in the business community have been opposing his economic agenda and have not proposed any alternatives. "Not lifting a finger to help," he said.
In fact, the GOP and the business community have been offering a broad range of job-creating proposals that always worked in the past and will work again, but they have been dismissed or ignored by the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress.
I asked a number of business leaders and trade associations what they would do to accelerate growth and create more jobs. All said the administration did not have a workable plan, and all had lots of ideas for how to do it better.
"We have no battle plan, no comprehensive approach for making manufacturing in the U.S. more competitive, more productive, and creating even more high-paying jobs," said John Engler, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. Among the NAM's proposals to put more Americans back to work: