In arguing how to improve the economy, Alan Meltzer, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, provides a history lesson in how other Presidents have help pull the economy up from a recession:

The contrast with President Reagan’s antirecession and pro-growth measures in 1981 is striking. Reagan reduced marginal and corporate tax rates and slowed the growth of nondefense spending. Recovery began about a year later. After 18 months, the economy grew more than 9% and it continued to expand above trend rates.  

President Obama has instead focused on massive government spending, and allowed the specter of rising taxes and new regulations deter business from making additional investments. It’s the latter–the growing government burden and uncertainty about the rules businesses will have to operate in the future–that are really hindering the economy today. He writes:

Mr. Obama has denied the cost burden on business from his health-care program, but business is aware that it is likely to be large. How large? That’s part of the uncertainty that employers face if they hire additional labor.

The president asks for cap and trade. That’s more cost and more uncertainty. Who will be forced to pay? What will it do to costs here compared to foreign producers? We should not expect businesses to invest in new, export-led growth when uncertainty about future costs is so large. …

Other aspects of the Obama economic program are equally problematic. The auto bailouts ran roughshod over the rule of law. Chrysler bondholders were given short shrift in order to benefit the auto workers union. By weakening the rule of law, the president opened the way to great mischief and increased investors’ and producers’ uncertainty. That’s not the way to get more investment and employment.

The whole piece is worth reading.