Obama’s interview on 60 minutes last night grabbed my attention. He seems so reasonable about where he’s trying to take the country. Obama explains that people are holding him accountable for the economy, over which he doesn’t have complete control and which has been influenced by previous administrations. But hold me accountable, he says, even when I can’t do anything about it.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound quite right to me. It seems that the President is engaging in false modesty. He insinuates that our economic problems aren’t his fault, but wants you to think that he is nobly taking the blame.

There’s certainly truth to the fact that the President can’t control what happens in the economy. Ironically, Obama doesn’t seem to get this himself, arguing that he needs more power, to prevent our current state from becoming the “new normal.”

Yet what the President needs isn’t more power, but to use current power more effectively. Yes, the President can’t control the economy, but there’s lots that could be done to make government less of a burden on the private sector and therefore help encourage growth.

Here’s a start of what the President could do:

  • Reduce regulations. The new health care law, and uncertainty about cap-and-trade and the Paycheck Fairness Act, all make it more difficult for a company to hire and hurt profitability, further damaging economic and job growth.
  • Cut taxes. At the very least, extend the tax cuts of the Bush Administration.

In his 60 minutes interview, Obama discusses the Bush tax cuts. He admits that the rich create jobs for the economy and have earned what they have. But, he mentions the deficit, and hints that the only way to get out of the hole is to increase taxes on those who make over $250,000. IWF’s Hadley Heath wrote about this misguided view of taxation earlier this fall. As odd as it sounds, raising taxes on the rich often decreases the revenue government receives.

So, not only will the economy suffer, but the government’s coffers will dwindle as well, if we raise taxes on some of the most productive members of our society. Failure to extend the Bush Tax Cuts to all tax brackets results in a lose-lose situation.

Instead of hinting that the previous administration is at fault or that the president doesn’t have enough power, the current government should cut taxes, regulation and (novel idea) spending too.

So, Obama can solve his problems after all – not through more power and government intervention, but less.