Welch elaborated by saying that the TARP program is starting to "restore financial confidence." He went on to say that the decline in the economy may be ending.
But perhaps Welch's most insightful remarks were directed at our new President. He praised Obama's cabinet picks and encouraged him to foster an environment of teamwork with his staff.
But Welch took a scolding tone concerning Obama's current public stance on the economic situation. Welch advised:
"He has to stop protecting himself by saying it will get worse before it gets better. This country needs a boost and every time he goes on television and talks about how bad it's going to get, people are looking for someone to take us out of this."
You know that I agree with Welch that TARP is working. Why do I agree? Because of the overwhelming evidence of mid-market bank strength in the Q4 results this earnings season. As we've seen, many of these regional and community banks are refusing TARP funding because their balance sheets are already strong.
I also agree with Welch that we need a confidence boost. As the Conference Board prepares its readout of leading economic indicators on Monday, one of the most helpful things that Obama can do is to focus on a message of "economic conditions improving." True to the Obama campaign message of "hope over fear," Obama needs to identify those hopeful indicators of improvement, clearly point to them, and then move forward with stimulus plans that specify the country's "unity of purpose."
Let's all decide to move this economy forward. As Welch says on his website:
"First and foremost, we suggest you resolve to make 2009 a year during which you stay outward-facing and on the offensive."
TARP seems to be working, more positive economic indicators will be released on Monday, and our national resolve is clear. Let's get to work on some "shovel-ready" projects.