Obama's First 100 Days: Wharton Profs Weigh In

Last Updated May 12, 2009 7:51 AM EDT

  • The Find: Professors at one leading business school are reassured by President Obama's calm governing style and willingness to tackle the big issues, but anxious about the debt his government is racking up.
  • The Source: Knowledge@Wharton from The Wharton School.
The Takeaway: All day yesterday the media was atwitter with stories related to the President's first 100 days in office. Across the country everyone was grading President Obama on his performance and that includes management professors at the prestigious Wharton School. They're used to handing out grades to the best and brightest b-school students, so how do they rate the new President?
Management professor Heather Berry has plenty of good things to say about the commander in chief, noting his "many laudable policy objectives," including job creation, an overhaul of the nation's health care system, and school and energy reform, but that doesn't mean she has no misgivings about the administration's plans, saying:
The deficit created by Obama's budget will 'explode' if all of his initiatives are enacted. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report issued in March projected $9.3 trillion in federal deficits over the next decade, which is nearly triple the cumulative deficits during the two terms of Obama's predecessor.
Finance professor Nicholas Souleles is also worried about government debt, offering a comparison between the federal deficit high (during peacetime) of about 6% of GDP in 1982, and this year's shortfall of more than double that figure.

The grades from the professors most interested in hard numbers may be mixed, but Obama receives high marks from those more focused on communication. Alvin S. Felzenberg, of Penn's Annenberg School of Communications, notes that the President comes across "as a serious person taking command of the situation. He is exceptionally well-spoken; he looks good up there and gives the impression of somebody America would be proud to have representing us in the world."

The Question: How would you grade President Obama's first 100 days?

(Image of man dressed as nightmare report card by ethorson, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.