President Obama has addressed a very large number of issues, and has focused less on the economy than was warranted, in my judgment. He left it to Congress to decide on the contents of the stimulus package, which resulted in a bill that left most of the expenditures to 2010 and 2011. It had less effect than a better-crafted package might have had. Recovery cannot be broadly based until the financial sector is sorted out, and I think that more leadership was needed in explaining why it was important--why banks are not the same as auto companies -- and orchestrating consensus on the process.
Beyond the next one or two years, fiscal problems loom in financing existing programs -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- and a reform of health care is likely to be costly. Ignoring these issues is dangerous for the economy, and addressing them sooner will both make them less painful to solve and improve economic performance in the intermediate run.
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