If you could talk our economy down from the ledge, Barack Obama would have it booming. He will continue to talk at the economy on his Midwest bus tour that kicks off today.

In addition to talking and talking and talking, the president intends to “hear real stories from real Americans about the impact of a struggling economy.”

USA Today notes:

In outlining today’s schedule, the White House said “the president knows we must do everything we can to promote economic growth, restore confidence in our nation’s future and enhance the sense of optimism for future generations.”

Somehow I don’t think a transparently political bus tour (taxpayers are picking up the tab for this highly political jaunt through several battleground states) is going to do any of this.

The problem for Obama is that his policies are not working. Sure, he inherited a terrible economy, but, if his policies were the right ones, we’d be seeing a glimmer of hope. A 9.1 unemployment rate does not offer a glimmer of hope, even if it is a drop from 9.2.

President Obama is not the first president to inherit a bad economy. Ronald Reagan did, too, and he had begun a turnaround by the end of his first term (that benchmark is rapidly approaching for Barack Obama). Paul Kengor, a professor at Grove City College and an authority on Ronald Reagan, explains how Reagan’s “stimulus” was different from Barack Obama’s:

Reagan’s initiative was the antithesis of President Obama’s $800 billion “stimulus” that didn’t stimulate. The 2009 version was the single greatest contributor to our record $1.5 trillion deficit. It was, plain and simple, what Reagan didn’t do.

When Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Act at his ranch near Santa Barbara, it was the largest tax cut in American history. He also revealed leadership that Democrats and Republicans alike agree we are not seeing currently from the White House. Even TheWashington Post called Reagan’s action “one of the most remarkable demonstrations of presidential leadership in modernhistory.”

Paul Samuelson has a good piece today on deficit reduction and how to achieve it. Suffice it to say, his prescriptions are not what the president will be offering on the bus tour. Please read the entire column, which puts forward ten prescriptions (at least one of which will be hard to swallow for all groups of citizens). 

Just an amusing aside: the bus tour is stopping at mostly prosperous towns that have not been as hard hit by the economic downturn. But I thought the president wanted to listen to average Americans struggling with economic woes.

No, he wants to talk some more.