President-elect Barack Obama held a press conference today in which he promised to meet America’s economic challenges head on “immediately after I become president.”
Obama opened by saying that October was the 10th straight month of U.S. job losses, and that “we are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime, and we’re going to have to act swiftly to resolve it.”
He made sure to state that President George W. Bush and his administration are still in office, and that he’s spoken to Bush and appreciates the outgoing president’s commitment to keeping the president-elect and his team informed as developments unfold.
Obama said he had met with members of his “Transition Economic Advisory Board,” which consists of financial luminaries such as Paul Volcker and Robert Rubin, to develop a strong set of policies to deal with this crisis.”
He then outlined 4 steps for economic recovery.
1) A rescue plan for the middle class. This consists of immediate efforts to create jobs, and give relief to those who are “watching their paychecks shrink and their life savings disappear.” Obama would also extend unemployment benefits to those who can’t find work, and implement a fiscal stimulus plan to “jump start economic growth.”
2) Address the financial impact on small businesses, state and municipal governments, and the auto industry and its surrounding suppliers. Obama called the auto industry “the backbone of American manufacturing.”
3) Review the current administration’s economic policies that are already in place. Obama wants to make sure taxpayers are protected and financial markets are stable, as well as help homeowners and not just the financial firms that are receiving government investment. He said it is essential that FDIC, HUD and other organizations “help families avoid foreclosures and stay in their homes.”
4) Lay out policies to “grow the middle class" and strengthen the economy for the long term. Obama mentioned clean energy, healthcare, education and tax relief as components of the plan he and his advisors will be working on.
Obama ended his prepared statements by telling Americans, “I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead … Some of the choices that we make are going to be difficult … It is not going to be quick or easy to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in. But America is a strong and resilient country. And I know we will succeed.”
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