January 14th, 2009
05:49 AM ET
6 years ago

Schneider: How long does Obama have to fix the economy?

How much patience will the American people have as Barack Obama tries to bring the economy back to life?
How much patience will the American people have as Barack Obama tries to bring the economy back to life?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - How long will the voters give President Barack Obama to turn the economy around? The president-elect is already laying down markers:

- Last month, Obama pledged, "We are going to create 2.5 million jobs."

– This month, he laid down another marker: "That is how we will achieve the Number One goal of my plan, which is to create 3 million new jobs."

– And then another: "The report confirms that our plan will likely save or create 3 to 4 million jobs. Ninety percent of these jobs will be created in the private sector."

Obama is urging patience. "It's going to take some time," he told ABC News. "It's not going to happen overnight."

So, just how long will the voters give him? Let's look at the experience of other new presidents elected in bad times.

When Ronald Reagan took over, the unemployment rate was just over 7 percent. When Bill Clinton took over, the unemployment rate was just over 7 percent. What's the unemployment rate now, when Barack Obama's about to take over? Just over 7 percent.

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soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Somesh Ponmani

    There is no quick fix to US economy; or for that matter, economy of any nation in the world. In every country, people need to have patience. It is in the interest of the world at large that the US economy is fixed quickly so that the trade could resume which will be a catalyst for the revival of the world economy. Sure, president-elect Obama has a strong team and it is hoped that they will bring about the much need change rather quickly. It is of paramount importance that the people are able to hold onto their jobs and mortgages which in itself will revive the economy to a large extent. The auto bail out was in the right direction. Likewise, if the 750B dollars earmarked is spent wisely, the economy will pick up albeit not very fast but gradually.

    January 14, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. Jack/ret.

    The very essence of this topic is why the economy will not get better soon. Any interference in the ebb and flow of market economics is just that....interference. Artificial structures are growing to wrap around the hundreds of billions of new federal spending. The new money is not stimulating new ventures but propping up decaying rot.

    January 14, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Tony in Maine

    I'm looking for conservative Republicans to begin chanting the meme of "do-nothing" on Jan. 21. "My God, he's had 24 hours and nothing has happened!"

    Moderate Republicans might give him a month.

    Reasonably, it will take Obama's eight years and Chelsea's eight to undo the mischief done by BushCo.

    January 14, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. change in America

    Look the blame Obama for the economy blame Bush he knew about the economy problems for 8 years and Bush did nothing to help economy....This country need to stop blaming Obama for everything Bush have not done to fix the problem

    January 14, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY

    The PE gets 100 days just like every President before him, if the tone is not set in the first 100 days, it will be a very long four years for our new president.

    January 14, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Expectation for Obama are much higher than they were for Clinton or Reagan. He's promised everything and now it's time to deliver. I hope he can, but know he won't.

    January 14, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Patient Voter

    I'll give him three months tops. Same with the wars.

    January 14, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Baze

    As long as it takes

    January 14, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Curious dude

    Presidents can't "fix" economies. Sop spending our hard earned money on illegal, unconstitutional acts and we'd be fine

    January 14, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. In da Burgh

    You have picked the wrong sign for the times. I've seen this same sign every night on my way home from work for the last 3 years. Its the same guy at the same location. We don't have people begging in soup lines. Stop making it sound like we are at the end of days or we will end up there.

    January 14, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Mike

    Reality is finally sinking in. Nothing is going to get done.. its washington.

    January 14, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Former Lifelong Republican supporting Obama, Columbia, TN

    Obama should get as long as it it takes to fix the economic mess that President Bush got this nation into. It took 8 years to get us to this point, Obama should arguably get 8 years to cure it.

    January 14, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Terry - California

    First of all, one man can not fix the economy, one man leads the parade – and We the People need to fix the economy. We can all decide to march in the parade, or stand on the curb and watch, as the parade goes by. The economy is in a rat hole because We the People allowed our elected officials to rape and pillage the U.S. Treasury, all for the greed of Wall Street and the U.S. Banking System. Most of our elected officials are well educated lawyers, and they know when a fish smells too bad to be cooked. We the People better get busy, electing and supporting people who will make the hard, fast decisions, to restructure Wall Street and the U.S. Banking System. It is my belief that much of the initial TARP $350 Billion went off shore, funneled there by Wall Street Investment Banks. We are not out of the woods – in fact we are just entering the woods. The most recent "hurry up and dump $350 Billion more" tells me that Bush told Obama the whole story, and the story is well beyond gloomy. We the People got raped, plain and simple. Now, We the People need to get into the parade. Obama needs our help and understanding, frankly because the Bush Administration has left large piles of Poop in the Parade Route. The Congress can act swiftly, or continue to take Campaign Donations from Wall Street and large U.S. Banks. The Congress can enact a freeze on the $30 Billion planned for Wall Street Bonuses – which is 8.5% of the initial $350 Billion "No Questions Asked" gift from Paulson and Bush. Congress and the White House need to ask themselves why they allowed this to happen – and We the People need to elect the next wave of politicians to replace those who will jump ship, rather than face the tough questions to come. One thing the Congress can do right now is to freeze all payroll taxes for anyone making less than $100,000 for a period of six months. Put the money directly into the economy by giving workers their payroll taxes up front. The Payroll Freeze can be partially covered by the remaining $350 Billion in the TARP Fund. Stop pouring money into the Rat Hole, start pouring money directly into the economy.

    January 14, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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