WASHINGTON (RushPRnews) 02/10/09-President Barack Obama says the U.S. economy is facing its most profound emergency since the Great Depression and could sink into a “negative spiral” without more government intervention.
Speaking at a White House news conference, Mr. Obama called on the U.S. Congress to quickly pass an $800 billion government spending and tax cut bill.
The president said a failure to act would deepen the pain of Americans who are suffering from 3.6 million lost jobs and other economic problems. He said with the private sector weakened, “the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt the economy back to life.”
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the economic stimulus bill Tuesday. If it passes, the Senate bill must be reconciled with a different version passed by the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law by Mr. Obama.
Most members of the Republican Party have opposed the plan, saying it includes too much spending and too few tax cuts, while Mr. Obama’s Democratic Party supports it.
Mr. Obama said the upcoming year will be a difficult one, but he hopes to see improvement by next year. The president said his initial measure of success is creation of jobs, followed by effective operation of credit markets and a stabilization of the housing market.
The president blamed the beginning of the economic crisis on banks taking what he called “wild risks” with other people’s money. He said if the government put money in people’s pockets, loosened up credit markets and increased employment it would lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth.
Before his news conference, Mr. Obama visited Elkhart, Indiana, where the unemployment rate has gone from less than five percent to 15 percent in one year. He said similar scenarios are playing out across the nation.
Questioned on a senator’s proposal to establish a “truth commission” to investigate decisions by the Bush administration, Mr. Obama said he would look into it. But he added he prefers to focus on the future rather than the past.