Strategy

The CEO Poll: No easy fix for U.S. economy

Canadian CEOs mixed on Obama's economic stewardship.

Business leaders give the federal mini-budget high marks.

In an attempt to create jobs and spur economic growth, U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this month announced a new $50 billion investment for infrastructure and transport facilities. The move comes ahead of congressional elections in November, and at a time when the administration’s policies are increasingly under fire. In a poll conducted by COMPAS Inc., Canadian CEOs were lukewarm toward Obama’s handling of the economy.

Asked to grade Obama’s economic performance out of 100, the respondents awarded the U.S. president a score of 57. Only 13% said their confidence in him is increasing, while 44% reported no change. Nearly 45% said their confidence is falling, however.

The CEOs were not overly impressed with the recently announced $50 billion mini-stimulus package, either. Nearly 60% of the respondents believe it will be difficult to re-ignite the economy because businesses are concerned about higher taxes and greater regulation under Obama. Only 29% believe the spending will have much of an effect.

‘[Americans] are now suffering the hangover from a great party and there are no silver bullets that Obama can use that will instantly ‘fix’ things,’ wrote one respondent. ‘Unfortunately, that is not what the electorate wants to hear.’

In terms of assigning blame for the current U.S. economic malaise, 8% of the respondents finger Obama’s perceived ‘high spending, high regulation policies,’ while others looked beyond the current administration.

‘Obama and his policies have not caused the current situation, but will exacerbate and prolong this economic downturn,’ wrote one CEO.

The most likely culprit, according to the respondents, is the U.S. Congress for allowing lax mortgage policies that led to the housing boom and subsequent bust.

‘It is unfair to blame Obama,’ wrote another respondent, ‘but he has the responsibility to clean things up.’