January 15th, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Letters to the President: #726 'The question that matters'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama’s approval rating among voters has risen a little. The unemployment rate, however, remains stubbornly high.

Dear Mr. President,

I have been asking friends and colleagues lately about their faith in the economic recovery and I’m getting a very mixed bag of answers. Most of them seem to feel that the economy is improving. They like what they are seeing with the markets. They have trouble putting their fingers on exactly which indicators are making them feel more optimistic, but they seem to think there are some. And if you compare their outlook to six months ago, you’d have to say that it is better.

But then, they roll out the caveats. They’re not sure if it is going to be a solid or shaky recovery - a short-term bounce back or a lasting resurgence, something that will bring truly better days or merely fewer bad ones.

Will your housing values come back? Hmmm…I suppose.
Do you expect to spend more money this year? Maybe.
More saving? I’d like to. Not sure.

And then comes the million-dollar one: If you lost your job, would you feel comfortable about your chances for getting another one?

That’s when brows darken, smiles fade, and they get a look in their eyes as if I’ve just told them that a pack of wolves has been spotted in the parking garage and they’re leaving with a half-burger in a doggy bag.

This is the tricky part for you, I suspect. For all the tender shoots of hope that are trying to push up through the cracks in our economy, for all the encouraging little signs, you must find a way to make the answer to that question a little more positive - because fear has a way of dragging hope down dark alleys, and there are few things as fearful as losing a job when you can’t find another.

I hope your weekend is going well. Checking out the playoff games? Call if you want to come over.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Hi Tom, The president has made clear he wants to talk jobs, spending and deficit several times already. He will do so again in the state of the Union address.
    So to all your friends who have the worries and questions you pose I ask you and CNN and Boehner et al:-
    1) Why is repeal of health care masked as job killing by thier title? If 35m people dont have health care and get it that means more nurses doctors Hospital admin staff etc etc not less.
    2) Now a R representative also wants to re-visit the passed legislation of DADT.
    3) Stated intent is to continue to attack health care as a priority.
    This all seems to me like the party of NO and Now "Repeal everything" as well from the last 2 years first!?!?
    So where's the jobs, jobs, jobs they screamed about in the election. Not rhetoric please but clear job creation plans.

    January 16, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  2. Bruce

    If we can't afford to let the Bush tax cuts expire, how can we afford a .50 or a $1.00 tax increase on our entire economy at the gas pump. Who ever is manipulating these prices controls our country and can take us down.

    January 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm |