Barack Obama announces economic recovery roadmap; plan would create 2.5 million new jobs
BY CELESTE KATZ
DAILY NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
Updated Sunday, November 23rd 2008, 2:58 AM
Faced with trying to right a debt-shackled, job-bleeding economy, President-elect Barack Obama vowed Saturday to create or save 2.5 million American jobs by 2011.
Obama, during the weekly Democratic address, pledged to embark on a sweeping "nationwide effort to jump-start job creation [and] lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy."
He noted that "an economic crisis of historic proportions" has already cost 1.2 million U.S. jobs this year, and unemployment claims are spiking while new home purchases are tanking.
Through a massive two-year stimulus plan he's asking his team to devise, "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," Obama said.
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"Fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive" are also part of the plan, which is far broader than what Obama discussed during the campaign.
Obama described the measures - to which he attached no dollar figure - as going beyond the current financial crunch.
Instead, he said, they are "long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long."
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The President-elect - who also praised Congress for its recent extension of unemployment benefits - said passing the plan won't be easy, but "what is not negotiable is the need for immediate action.
"Right now, there are millions of mothers and fathers who are lying awake at night wondering if next week's paycheck will cover next month's bills," Obama continued. "Retirees are watching their life savings disappear and students are seeing their college dreams deferred. These Americans need help, and they need it now."
The situation is "likely to get worse before it gets better," but without swift action, Obama warned, the nation risks losing millions more jobs next year and "falling into a deflationary spiral that could increase our massive debt even further."
Among those who will help Obama try to rejuvenate the sagging economy is New York Federal Reserve chief Timothy Geithner, 47, who's being tapped as Obama's new Treasury secretary.
Lawrence Summers, a former treasury secretary under Clinton and one-time president of Harvard University, will be named the director of the National Economic Council, officials said Saturday.
Geithner kept a low profile at his Larchmont home Saturday.
He finally emerged around 5 p.m., cell phone in hand, and drove off without taking questions.
With James Queally