In the heady days of 2008, starry-eyed pundits predicted that the election of Barack Obama would lead to a complete rehabilitation of America’s image in the world. President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, less than a year into his first term, reinforced this narrative.Three plus years later, that shiny new president smell is gone, and the flashy new car as a few nicks and dents. A new Gallup poll finds that the “Obama bounce” in foreign views of American has lost momentum and in some countries, (in Africa and Latin America and in a number of European countries) has fallen significantly. Overall, confidence in the US fell 13 pionts in three years to 40 percent in Latin America. international community is nearly universally losing confidence in America’s leadership.Another Gallup poll suggests a way for America to improve its image. For the first time since Obama’s election, America has lost its position as the most respected major power, losing out to Germany, which now enjoys an approval rating of 47 percent to America’s 46. Much of Germany’s surge in popularity is attributable to its strong economic performance during the Euro crisis. Here we see how a balanced budget is more than just smart fiscal policy; it can also be a component of a nation’s soft power. A strong economy and a well-ordered budget are signs of strength, and they often earn the respect of those living under fiscally and economically dysfunctional regimes. America’s soft power could get a boost if other countries believed that our finances were sound.Unfortunately, they aren’t. Fixing this problem should be the president’s first priority regardless of who wins the next election. Wealth, success and a solid financial foundation have a lot to do with how people regard you.