Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

topic posted Sat, November 22, 2008 - 9:54 PM by  Forest
So how do you like this Seal, eh? New Deal II is coming to a town near you this January...


Plan Aims to Create or Save 2.5 Million Positions by 2011

President-elect Barack Obama is developing a plan to create or preserve 2.5 million jobs over the next two years by spending billions of dollars to rebuild roads and bridges, modernize public schools, and construct wind farms and other alternative sources of energy.

The plan, which Obama announced yesterday during the weekly Democratic radio address, is more expansive -- and undoubtedly more expensive -- than anything proposed so far to revive the nation's deteriorating economy. Obama said the darkening economic outlook demands that Washington act "swiftly and boldly" to diminish the risk that the nation "could lose millions of jobs next year."

"The news this week has only reinforced the fact that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions," Obama said, citing chaotic financial markets, rising jobless claims and the specter of a "deflationary spiral that could increase our massive debt even further." He provided few details and no price tag, but said his economic team is working on "a plan big enough to meet the challenges we face that I intend to sign soon after taking office."

While cast as a response to a rapidly worsening crisis, the plan could enable Obama to shift massive sums to domestic priorities that Democrats say have long been neglected, such as health care and education. It also could provide seed money to reshape major U.S. industries, hastening the production of wind and solar energy and fuel-efficient cars, for example. Obama said the plan would be "a down payment on the type of reform my administration will bring to Washington."

Obama has scheduled his second formal news conference since the election for tomorrow to introduce his economic team, including Federal Bank of New York President Timothy F. Geithner, Obama's nominee for Treasury secretary. According to Democratic sources, Harvard economist Lawrence Summers, a Clinton administration Treasury chief, will be named director of the National Economic Council. In this capacity, Summers will coordinate the Obama administration's overall economic policy.

Obama's advisers are coordinating with Democrats in Congress to craft a proposal intended to spur economic activity. Congressional leaders have said they hope to pass it shortly after the new Congress convenes next year and have it on Obama's desk soon after he takes office on Jan. 20.

Obama's address echoed many of the same ideas Democrats on Capitol Hill have been advocating for nearly a year.

Obama said his plan would launch "a two-year nationwide effort to jump-start job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy. We'll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels," as well as producing fuel-efficient cars.

"These aren't just steps to pull ourselves out of this immediate crisis; these are long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long," he said.

Economists have called on the federal government to spend at least $150 billion and as much as $500 billion to ease the effects of what is expected to be the most painful and prolonged recession since World War II. A stimulus package signed by President Bush in February cost $168 billion.

House Democrats have been talking about a new package worth at least $150 billion, and possibly much more. During the presidential campaign, Obama proposed a two-year, $175 billion stimulus package with money for cash-strapped state governments and infrastructure projects as well as a $1,000 tax credit for working families.

The campaign did not release an estimate of the number of jobs that his latest proposal would create. But congressional aides who have been involved in developing stimulus proposals said that any plan to create 2.5 million jobs is likely to be significantly larger -- probably well over $200 billion, or between 1 and 2 percent of the gross domestic product.

Such a plan would be bold by historic standards. President Bill Clinton, facing a weak economy when he took office in 1993, proposed a $16 billion stimulus package, which was blocked in the Senate. Obama's proposal would be an order of magnitude larger, even when adjusted for the larger size of today's economy.

Some economists have compared Obama's proposals to the spending spree President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched during his early months in office in 1933. Roosevelt offered jobs programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, and cash for public-works projects, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, in hopes of easing the pain of the Great Depression.

While the stimulus plan Obama discussed on the campaign trail included tax cuts, he did not mention any changes in tax policy in his address yesterday. But House Democrats say they expect to push much of Obama's tax-cutting agenda along with a stimulus measure in January. That could mean enacting legislation that would extend Bush tax cuts for families who earn less than $250,000 past the 2010 expiration date.

Democrats are debating whether to roll back the tax cuts for wealthier families or let them expire on Dec. 31, 2010, as current law requires. Allowing them to expire would give the government additional revenue without forcing Democrats to vote to raise taxes. It also would avoid enacting a tax hike during a recession, which economists say would be unwise.

Without details, it is impossible to say if Obama's goal of creating 2.5 million jobs is realistic. It is also likely to be difficult to assess its effectiveness. Because unemployment is expected to soar in the coming months, the country is expected to shed jobs regardless of any government action. Obama is pledging to add 2.5 million jobs to that lower employment level.

There also is no assurance that Congress will approve such a large package. Republicans, particularly in the Senate, have resisted additional spending on the economy. While Democrats will have stronger majorities in both chambers in January, Obama acknowledged that "passing this plan won't be easy." He called on both Republicans and Democrats to offer "ideas and suggestions."
posted by:
Los Angeles
  • Unsu...

    Re: Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

    Sun, November 23, 2008 - 11:22 AM
    Interesting. Public works projects. Sounds to me that somebody is realizing that Great Depression II really is on the doorstep, eh?

    Obama could fund all of this by taking the bush bailout back from the banks and by cutting the Pentagon budget in half and closing the fascist Fatherland Security. That would free up a trillion or more, eh, don't ya think??

    Tax cuts for those families making $250,000 a year or less...since about 80% of the working population in this country gross under $50,000 a year, I don't have a clue how the big boys in charge think $250,000 is middle class! But I would definitely roll back those bush tax cuts for the filthyrich...

    We'll see, won't we?

    Unfortunately I just don't see this happening. The filthyrich just aren't going to let go of the reins this easy. But I do agree with the idea of what is being proposed because when there is nothing left to buy food to eat, much less a place to live or health care or anything else, people are going to start killing each other in large numbers.
    • Re: Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

      Sun, November 23, 2008 - 12:01 PM
      I hope on January 20, Obama will ram through all these major reforms for the economy and healthcare. If this goes through, it will be the first time since LBJ that a liberal president has pushed through something big enough that will be felt for generations. Both Carter and Clinton (yes, I know he was really a Republican, but he ran as a Democrat) didn't really have much ambitions to fundamentally change the course of the country, while Republicans since Reagan have. So it's about fucking time. And now's the time to do it because we just won big in the elections and we have political capital. Let the GOP scream all they want. They are in tatters, with no clear leader and fighting amongst themselves as to what caused their defeat. It seems every conservative has a different opinion on the matter and point the blame at someone else, which is great for us. The longer they stay divided the better.
      • Re: Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

        Mon, November 24, 2008 - 10:36 PM
        Seal, I've been trying to remind folks this week that Obama and Daschle both voted nominally when it comes to personal security and issues which may lead to RFID's for everyone who will stand (ouch!) still. I seem to be cringing on a daily basis as each new Clinton operative is added to the Obama exec. machine. Where, exactly, is this new direction in team building and rebooting our civil rights?
        • Re: Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

          Mon, November 24, 2008 - 10:59 PM
          Gratephil, your concerns are warranted. But I would like to add one thing that people seem to be forgetting...

          Obama is not president YET.

          Right now, George Bush is. And he still has another two months to go. We keep forgetting this because of the unprecedented speed in which this government-in-waiting is being put together, mainly because of the economy going down the tubes and the anxieties of the public who want the new president to show he is ready and willing to take charge once in office.

          But Obama is not going to want to spell out everything he's gonna do when he gets in the Oval Office, because then Bush and company can do things to make it harder or even prevent Obama from doing what he intends to do. So quite frankly, it doesn't make sense for him to say publicly everything he plans to do once Bush leaves office.

          Don't forget, we still have this madman in the White House who hears voices instructing him to use the military in the Middle East. Do you want to provoke such an unstable person? A lot of bad things could happen in two months, you know.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

            Sun, December 7, 2008 - 3:44 PM
            Gratephil, we already live in a police state/security state/fascist state/whatever you want to call it. The tracking microchips...wouldn't be surprised one bit to see them forcebly inserted into people. First of course would be in prisons, then ex-felons and those that are social pariahs (sex offenders, spouse abusers, etc), then maybe babies and children to "protect" them from themselves if they get lost or kidnapped. Like everything that has been done to destroy the Bill of Rights, one step at a time and always "for your own good."

            There has been a huge outcry against the damn things up here in regards to NAIS chipping of all livestock; ALL animals including chickens. Insane. The rules set up by Big Ag and the chipmakers are so onerous that at this point that I doubt it is going to happen though the feds are still pushing it in the rural areas anyway.

            And Maple is right, the fucking psycho is still loose with his finger on the button along with a fully mechanized US Army brigade back from three years of killing civilians in Falluja has been DEPLOYED in the US for "riot control" according to the general in charge. How scared are they that they might be indicted for war crimes, torture, renditions, illegal invasions, breaking the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Decision, all the rest of the felonies they've committed over the last eight years? Maybe real scared. Better to be dictator maybe? How bad could it get for Cheney and bush and Rumsfeld and all the rest of these fucks? Bad...real bad. Hanging by the neck until dead bad just like so many of the Nazis did for the SAME FUCKING REASONS! Sooo....

            One of the young local guys I know here was in the Army a few years ago. He was asked if he would be willing to kill unarmed US civilians if he was ordered to and he said no...and was slid out of the army shortly afterwards. I guess a number of people his age had the same thing happne. He said all the people he trained with that said yes ended up over in the mideast. This is a very poor rural mountain area. No jobs so, like Appalachia, they join the service. True or not I have no idea but that's what he thinks happened. But we know that IS what the US military is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.

            Some US secret black op attack, utter crash of the economy, giant earthquake, starving people having food riots and demonstrations; martial law is still is a very real possibility in the next two months. How afraid are they is the question.

            What I wonder is if Obama made the same kind of deal with Cheney/bush that Pelosi probably made with her no impeachment declaration? Or as Maple said, maybe he's just playing his cards very very close to his vest in order to avoid the insanity that these two fucks could unleash in this country? I don't know but, like you, the rethuglican right wingers that are being put into his cabinet along with Billyboy's gang of thugs & thieves bode no good for any kind of return/nullification of the fascist laws & Acts already in place.

            Pres. National Security Directive #51 comes to does the Military Commissions Act and all the rest of the radical fascist dictatorship laws we live under.

            And no, I don't think the bad guys running the government is going to change much with all the same and similar bad guys being put in by Obama. The same greedy asswipes we've already had in charge the last thirty fucking years. The sickness turns to gangrene...and there will be no return to even the minimal civil rights we've been losing since the Cold War started...
        • Re: Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

          Tue, November 25, 2008 - 5:57 AM
          Bruce Sterling gave a great lecture on RFID's, how to thwart them and even create art with them. The sound qualitie's not so hot, but you get used to it --

          • Re: Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

            Sat, December 6, 2008 - 3:00 PM
            Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
            Radio Address on the Economy
            Saturday, December 6, 2008

            Good morning.

            Yesterday, we received another painful reminder of the serious economic challenge our country is facing when we learned that 533,000 jobs were lost in November alone, the single worst month of job loss in over three decades. That puts the total number of jobs lost in this recession at nearly 2 million.

            But this isn’t about numbers. It’s about each of the families those numbers represent. It’s about the rising unease and frustration that so many of you are feeling during this holiday season. Will you be able to put your kids through college? Will you be able to afford health care? Will you be able to retire with dignity and security? Will your job or your husband’s job or your daughter’s or son's job be the next one cut?

            These are the questions that keep so many Americans awake at night. But it is not the first time these questions have been asked. We have faced difficult times before, times when our economic destiny seemed to be slipping out of our hands. And at each moment, we have risen to meet the challenge, as one people united by a sense of common purpose. And I know that Americans can rise to the moment once again.

            But we need action – and action now. That is why I have asked my economic team to develop an economic recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street that will help save or create at least two and a half million jobs, while rebuilding our infrastructure, improving our schools, reducing our dependence on oil, and saving billions of dollars.

            We won’t do it the old Washington way. We won’t just throw money at the problem. We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve -- by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.

            Today, I am announcing a few key parts of my plan. First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.

            Second, we will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.

            Third, my economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.

            As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.

            In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.

            These are a few parts of the economic recovery plan that I will be rolling out in the coming weeks. When Congress reconvenes in January, I look forward to working with them to pass a plan immediately. We need to act with the urgency this moment demands to save or create at least two and a half million jobs so that the nearly two million Americans who’ve lost them know that they have a future. And that’s exactly what I intend to do as President of the United States.

            Thanks for listening.

  • Re: Obama Sets Expansive Goal for Jobs

    Wed, December 17, 2008 - 5:28 PM
    Obama looking at $850 billion jolt to the economy

    WASHINGTON – Anxious to jolt the economy back to life, President-elect Barack Obama appears to be zeroing in on a stimulus package of about $850 billion, dwarfing last spring's tax rebates and rivaling drastic government actions to fight the Great Depression.

    Obama has not settled on a grand total, but after consulting with outside economists of all political stripes, his advisers have begun telling Congress the stimulus should be bigger than the $600 billion initially envisioned, congressional officials said Wednesday.

    Obama is promoting a recovery plan that would feature spending on roads and other infrastructure projects, energy-efficient government buildings, new and renovated schools and environmentally friendly technologies.

    There would also be some form of tax relief, according to the Obama team, which is well aware of the political difficulty of pushing such a large package through Congress, even in a time of recession. Any tax cuts would be aimed at middle- and lower-income taxpayers, and aides have said there would be no tax increases for wealthy Americans.

    While some economists consulted by Obama's team recommended spending of up to $1 trillion over two years, a more likely figure seems to be $850 billion. There is concern that a package that looks too large could worry financial markets, and the incoming economic team also wants to signal fiscal restraint.

    In addition to spending on roads, bridges and similar construction projects, Obama is expected to seek additional funds for numerous programs that experience increased demand when joblessness rises, one Democratic official said.

    Among those programs are food stamps and other nutrition programs, health insurance, unemployment insurance and job training programs.

    Obama advisers, including Christina Romer and Lawrence Summers, have been contacting economists from across the political spectrum in search of advice as they assemble a spending plan that would meet Obama's goal of preserving or creating 2.5 million jobs over two years.

    Among those whose opinions Obama sought were Lawrence B. Lindsey, a top economic adviser to President George W. Bush during his first term, and Harvard professor Martin Feldstein, an informal John McCain adviser and the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan.

    Feldstein recommended a $400 billion investment in one year, Obama aides said, and Lindsey said the package should be in the range of $800 billion to $1 trillion. The aides revealed the discussions on condition of anonymity because no decisions had been reached.

    "I do recommend $400 billion in year one and expect a similar amount in year two," Feldstein said in an e-mail message. "The right amount depends on how it is used."

    Lindsey could not be reached.

    Obama aides also pointed to recommendations by Mark Zandi, the lead economist at Moody's and an informal McCain adviser who has been proposing a $600 billion plan.

    "I would err on the side of making it larger than making it smaller," Zandi said in an interview. "The size of the plan depends on the forecast — the economic outlook — and that is darkening by the day."

    "Even a trillion is not inconceivable," he said.

    Only one outside economist contacted by Obama aides, Harvard's Greg Mankiw, who served on President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, voiced skepticism about the need for an economic stimulus, transition officials said.

    The advisers say they agree with economic forecasts that predict that without a government infusion unemployment will rise above 9 percent and not begin to come down until 2011.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday that Obama has indicated that Congress will get his recovery recommendations by the first of the year.

    "He's going to get that to us very quickly and so we would hope within the first 10 days to two weeks that he's in office, that is after Jan. 20, that we could pass the stimulus plan," Reid said. "We want to do it very quickly."

    In a letter to Peter Orszag, Obama's choice to be White House budget chief, Reid asked, among other things, that the stimulus package include tax relief for middle-class families, including a reduction in rates and an extension of the child tax credit.

    Obama's aides have said they hope to work with Republicans in writing the bill, particularly in the Senate, where the GOP could slow action if it chooses. This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats were preparing their own recovery bill in the range of $600 billion, blending immediate steps to counter the slumping economy with longer-term federal spending that encompasses Obama's plan.

    A stimulus package that approaches $1 trillion could run into significant Republican opposition in Congress. It also could cause heartburn for moderate and conservative Democratic lawmakers, known as Blue Dogs, who oppose large budget deficits.

    "Republicans want to work with the president-elect to help get our economy on the path to recovery, but we have grave reservations about taking $1 trillion from struggling taxpayers and spending it on government programs in the name of economic 'stimulus,'" House Republican leader John Boehner said in a statement.

    In February, Congress passed an economic stimulus bill costing $168 billion and featuring $600 tax rebates for most individual taxpayers and tax breaks for businesses. Pelosi largely bowed to President Bush's insistence to keep the measure free of spending on federal projects.

    The upcoming effort would dwarf that earlier measure as well as a $61 billion stimulus bill the House passed just before adjourning for the elections. That measure died after a Bush veto threat and GOP opposition in the Senate.

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