It looks like Jim Cramer and Rick Santelli aren’t the only ones that have given the new administration failing grades.
Now even a majority of economists have found the actions of President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner to be wanting.
From the Wall Street Journal by Phil Izzo entitled: Obama, Geithner Get Low Grades From Economists
“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.
The economists’ assessment stands in stark contrast with Mr. Obama’s popularity with the public, with a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll giving him a 60% approval rating. A majority of the 49 economists polled said they were dissatisfied with the administration’s economic policies.
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.
The economists, many of whom have been continually surprised by the depth of the downturn, also pushed back yet again their forecasts for when a recovery would begin. On average, they expect the downturn to end in October. Last month, they said the bottom would arrive in August. They estimate that U.S. gross domestic product will continue to contract in the first half of this year, with slow growth returning in the third quarter.
Economists were divided over whether the $787 billion economic-stimulus package passed last month is enough. Some 43% said the U.S. will need another stimulus package on the order of nearly $500 billion. Others were skeptical of the need for stimulus at all.
However, economists’ 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.
Meanwhile, the economists surveyed this month predict that the economy will shed another 2.8 million jobs over the next 12 months as the unemployment rate climbs to 9.3% by December, up from the 8.1% rate recorded in February. Economists also see nearly a one-in-six chance that the U.S. will fall into a depression, defined as a decline in per-person GDP or consumption by 10% or more.”
As for hope, here is one of mine—it is for a course change from the new administration. Until then the markets will most likely be stuck in the mud.
After all, Europe looks like a nice place, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
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