Salena Zito

Late last week he hit a new low when a Gallup tracking poll showed 26 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, down 11 points since the last survey in May and nearly ten points lower than his economic-approval numbers right before 2010’s midterm elections.

What American business needs to hear from the White House on jobs and the economy is stability and long-term deficit reduction, not gimmicks; the jury is out on which way the administration will go when the president announces a jobs program next month.

“I think the president lacks an economic philosophy,” said Robert Maranto, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas.

“He sees unemployment more as a political problem than an economic one, so he is going to go with the gimmicks and targeted payoffs rather than broader changes.”

The president and his team have a poor understanding of how to get the economy going and to create jobs, said Stanley Block, chairman of the finance school at Texas Christian University: “You really keep regulation low and taxes low and keep things predictable, and you don't change things in a major way.”

“If he really wanted to create jobs, he would eliminate what he has done in the first two-and-a-half years,” said Block, all of which has been “counterproductive to growing jobs.”

Since his inauguration, Obama has engaged in hyper-government activism to “reform” health care, to “save” the environment, to “make government transparent” – while rarely to never talking seriously about jobs.

That led many Americans to conclude he is out of touch, disconnected or aloof.

“It strikes me that the president loves experts, which makes sense given his education,” said Maranto. “On the economy, where the experts are contending, the president is at sea, so he tends to go with the politically expedient and tacks with the wind … when we need some stability and guts.”

And stability is what we need more than anything else, says Block.


Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.