Obama, Geithner Get Low Grades From Economists
By PHIL IZZO
The Wall Street Journal
MARCH 11, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner received failing grades for their efforts to revive the economy from participants in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey.
On average, they gave the president a grade of 59 out of 100, and although there was a broad range of marks, 42% of respondents rated Mr. Obama below 60. Mr. Geithner received an average grade of 51. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke scored better, with an average 71.
E]conomists' main criticism of the Obama team centered on delays in enacting key parts of plans to rescue banks. "They overpromised and underdelivered," said Stephen Stanley of RBS Greenwich Capital. "Secretary Geithner scheduled a big speech and came out with just a vague blueprint. The uncertainty is hanging over everyone's head."
Mr. Geithner unveiled the Obama administration's plans Feb. 10, but he offered few details, and stocks sank on the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down almost 20% since the announcement, as multiple issues have weighed on investors' confidence. The Treasury secretary has since appeared before Congress and offered more specifics but has said action on key parts of the plan still is weeks away.
The economists' negative ratings mark a turnaround in opinion. In December, before Mr. Obama took office, three-quarters of respondents said the incoming administration's economic team was better than the departing Bush team. However, Mr. Geithner's latest marks are lower than the average grade of 57 that former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson received in January.
Yikes! You know Obama is headed for trouble when experts actually think Bush's Paulson did a better job!