“I want YOU to become a slave to Big Government.”
Barack Obama’s two-year stimulus plan aims to create or protect 2.5 million jobs.
By Mark Simkin
As US president-elect Barack Obama prepares to unveil his economic team, it is becoming clear that their economic stimulus plan will be bigger than anything he promised on the campaign trail.
His team will be responsible for pulling the world’s biggest economy out of its tailspin.
And they will certainly have a lot of money to play with; the president-elect wants Congress to pass a massive economic stimulus package.
It has been called the new “new deal” – a reference to Franklin D Roosevelt’s massive stimulus plan during the Great Depression.
Mr Obama’s version is an attempt to avoid a depression and it is much bigger and costlier than anything the Democrat promised previously.
“We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernising schools that are failing our children and building wind farms and solar panels, fuel efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that could free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead,” he said.
Mr Obama says the two-year stimulus plan aims to create or protect 2.5 million jobs.
“January 20th is our chance to begin anew with a new direction, new ideas and new reforms that will create jobs and fuel long term economic growth,” he said.
What’s the price tag? According to one senior Democrat, Chuck Schumer, the stimulus package could end up costing as much as the Bush administration’s massive bank bailout.
“I believe we need a pretty big package here,” he said.
“From my view, it has to be between $US500 billion and $US700 billion and that is because our economy is in serious, serious trouble.
“We are on the edge of deflation. Once you get into deflation, you almost never get out.”
Chuck Schumer and other Congressional Democrats are already working with transition officials.
One of Mr Obama’s top advisers, David Axelrod, wants them to get a bill through Congress before the president-elect takes office.
“We don’t have time to waste here,” he said.
“The projections are that things may get worse before they get better and we want to hit the ground running on January 20th.”
Tomorrow, Mr Obama will unveil the economic team that will implement any stimulus plan.
A former treasury secretary, Larry Summers, will be the White House economic adviser while the New York Federal Reserve’s Timothy Geithner will become the new Treasury Secretary.
Rumours about the appointment sent stocks soaring at the end of last week and even Republicans such as Mitch Romney are applauding.
“Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers I know quite well and frankly I am encouraged by their participation in the new economic team. I think a good team is being assembled,” said Mr Romney.
Some Republicans could be less enthusiastic about Barack Obama’s likely choice for Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton.
Even some Democrats could be disappointed. The former First Lady repeatedly criticised her rival’s grasp of foreign policy during the primaries, but Mr Axelrod defends the pick.
“Hillary Clinton is a demonstrably able, tough, brilliant person,” he said.
“The one thing about Barack Obama is that he invites strong personalities around him. He enjoys that input, that give and take.”
Mr Obama will probably wait at least a week before officially unveiling his diplomatic and national security teams. In these uncertain times, the economy comes first.