Calvin Mackenzie, chair of Colby College’s government department, says the economy will play a major role when Americans return to the polls next November.
“If there are positive signs that the market is up, the economy is growing again and unemployment doesn’t exceed ten percent, Democrats will be in good shape if they can sell what they have rather than what they inherited,” he says.
The Economic Dilemma
When talking about the economy, Obama almost always reminds his audience that he inherited the current economy from his predecessor, but Berman warns that argument has begun to wear thin.
“He can’t blame Bush anymore He owns it now and he won’t be able to avoid the consequences of that in 2010,” Berman says.
According to an October Pew Research Survey, 31% of Americans believe Obama’s economic policies have made things better; 20% believe they’ve made things worse; and 46% say there’s been no effect so far. Opinion on his stimulus plan is evenly split, at 44%, down 11% for those who favored the stimulus plan in June.
Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, says it’s too soon to judge Obama’s performance in improving the economy, and to do so is unfair.
“I think those policies will create a great many problems in the future, like inflation,” he adds. “They’ve thrown so much money into the economy that when it does pick up there will be enormous inflationary pressure and the debt piled on will be very difficult to deal with. Obama would argue that he’s set a stronger foundation for the future.”