Dismal Jobs Numbers Expose a Leaderless White House on Economic Policy

As today’s calamitous jobless numbers report came out and the official unemployment rate spiked to 9.8%, Obama’s economic dream ended.

The economy is now his mess.  It’s his car that’s in the ditch.   There will be no economic recovery any time soon for millions of American workers under this president. And that may end up being  Barack Obama's political legacy.

The depressing new numbers -- only 39,000 jobs created after 150,000 were generated last month -- also shine a bright spotlight on the fact that there is no economic leadership within the Obama administration.  The president's economic "dream team” dissolved after Labor Day and there is no discernible Obama plan or vision to get America back to work and to generate millions of new jobs.  It simply doesn’t exist.

This fall, two of  Obama’s key economic chieftains -- Christina Romer and Peter Orszag -- called it quits and returned to their universities and academic centers. A third -- Lawrence Summers -- will leave at the end of the year. He’s going back to Harvard.

In August, Christina Romer, who promised unemployment would not top 8% if the federal stimulus was passed, announced she was going back to her position as an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Orszag left earlier in the summer for family reasons.  Upon their departures many commentators said Obama’s economic brain trust dissolved.

The word on the street is that no economic stars with real business experience are interested in joining the Obama White House.  Two Clintonites, investment banker Roger Altman and numbers cruncher Gene Sperling, have been publicly courted but have not decided to share Obama’s bed.  That appears to be the best the president can do.

No one is being sought who has any experience running a 21st century corporation and who actually knows how to produce jobs.  This is what happens when you declare war on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and your closest business ally, the Business Roundtable, excoriates you as they did this summer, saying you have created an "increasingly hostile environment for investment and job creation."

And Jack Lew, the new Office of Management and Budget director, who is in charge of spending priorities for the federal government,  has been operating without a deputy since he was confirmed.