Economists Give Obama, Geithner Failing Grades

Economics call out the president and the treasury secretary for an ineffective stimulus package

By Caitlin Millat
|  Thursday, Mar 12, 2009  |  Updated 8:00 AM PDT
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Blame Them For Your Empty Wallet

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President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner got failing grades this week from economists who say the administration's stimulus package has been ineffective.

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Economists failed President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this week for their attempts to revive the flailing national market, according to a Wall Street Journal survey reported Wednesday.

The majority of 49 financial experts polled said that Obama and Geithner's efforts to combat the recession -- most notably, Obama's giant stimulus package -- have failed to recharge the stalled economy.

Obama received an average grade of 59 out of a possible 100 for his economic performance, while Geithner's landed even lower, at 51. Forty-two percent of respondents gave the commander in chief a rating of lower than 60 percent.

"They overpromised and underdelivered," Stephen Stanley of RBS Greenwich Capital said.

Federal chairman Ben Bernanke topped both the president and Geithner -- economists gave him a generous 71.

Forty-three percent of economists said a second financial stimulus would be necessary to rebuild the markets. The large majority of experts said the Obama administration's biggest failure was how it mishandled bank disasters like Citigroup and AIG.

The Treasury department spoke out publicly against criticism of its stimulus plans this week, saying the financial crisis will take time to resolve.

"We have taken an unprecedented level of action toward economic recovery, accomplishing in weeks what took other countries years to do," Treasury spokesman Isaac Baker said.

The Dow Jones tanked after Geithner unveiled the Obama stimulus package in early February, down nearly 20 percent since the announcement.

The economists also predicted that the U.S. could lose another 2.8 million jobs over the next year - and that the chances of slipping into a complete economic depression are a dismal 1 in 6.

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