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Since the self-evident failure of his $825 billion jobs stimulus plan, Mr. Obama has been hoping that either the economy would heal itself or the Federal Reserve would come to his rescue.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke put that notion to rest last week at a conference of central bankers and economists at Jackson Hole, Wyo. “Most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank,” he said. In other words, that job rests with Congress, where GOP leaders have prepared a sweeping plan to cut tax rates, reduce job-killing regulations and unleash an aggressive trade policy to “sell American goods and services around the world.”

It’s hard to see their plan passing the Democratic-run Senate in this election cycle. But if it doesn’t, that will give Republicans the chance to ask the voters: Who’s really playing politics with the economy?

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.