January 24th, 2009
09:43 AM ET
11 months ago

Obama paints bleak economic picture, to meet with team

Obama pushed his stimulus plan during his weekly radio and Internet address.
Obama pushed his stimulus plan during his weekly radio and Internet address.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama painted a bleak economic picture of the country Saturday, hours before he will meet with his economic team.

"We begin this year and this administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action," he said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

"Just this week, we saw more people file for unemployment than at any time in the last 26 years, and experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits," Obama said.

The president pleaded for urgent action, saying, "if we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse."

Obama's remarks came as he is lobbying for a quick congressional passage of a $825 billion dollar stimulus package to pump up the economy.

The president revealed more details on his stimulus package, which he says would add more than 3,000 miles of electric lines to transport alternative energy across the country.

Obama also says the plan would save taxpayers $2 billion by making three-quarters of federal buildings more energy efficient, and would "save the average working family $350 on their energy bills by weatherizing 2.5 million homes."

Other details in Saturday's address include a call to invest more in Pell Grants to make college more affordable for seven million more students. The White House also released a report on the issue, on what is called the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan," which calls for greater investment in Pell Grants, a $2,500 college tax credit for four million college students and the tripling of the number of fellowships in science to help spur innovation.

Some Republicans in Congress are pushing back against the plan, questioning whether it will stimulate the economy. They also say the overall price tag is too expensive and want to see more in tax cuts for individuals and businesses and less in government spending.

The president is calling for the plan, which he hopes will create up to four million jobs over the next two years, to be passed by Congress and at his desk for signing by February 16, which is Presidents Day.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. E. Purdum

    I would like to see monies spent for creating jobs to improve and rehabilate the infrastructure of this country. What better gift for our grandchildren than to have safer roads, better railways, fearless travel over bridges, and above all, energy supplies which are not oil-based!
    Tax relief is NOT the answer. Stimulus gifts are used to pay off debt and are ineffectual in my opinion. Thanks for listening and thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent....EPurdum

    January 24, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. proudliberal-independent

    it's all about jobs ,baby. if folks aint workin', they cant spend. time for the corporations and bigshot ceos to start taking their losses in their own pockets, if they want to survive. the regular folks have had enough! if republicans and some democrats want to become obstructionists, they wont survive the next election cycle. good riddance,too. we need folks who will support our president. he seems to be the only person with a plan.

    January 24, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Jason E

    The only way for America to get out of this funk – is to get back to work. The only way for Americans to get back to work, is for Americans to start buying American made products.

    BUT – We don't make anything anymore. We have become a country of consumers and not producers. A countries wealth is measured by what it produces and I'm sorry to say, we greatly lack in this department.

    THUS – For us to get going again, we need to buy American (it may cost a little more, but thats the price we have to pay for now) and get back on the road of recovery.

    January 24, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Willy Brown

    It's #44 fault!

    January 24, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Ron

    yes I can see why he might be conserned about Economi as it would be cheaper for gov to give every citizen a million dollars to pay bills then to try to figi=ure out what the banks and wall street did

    January 24, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. JK Ashburn, VA

    He's right, quick action is required. But, it also needs to be the correct action. The crap that Congress loading into the lard barrel called the stimulus package is criminal and clearly shows they are putting politics above the needs of the nation. They should be put in Gitmo and then put on trial for treason. I am angry at their ineptitude and corruption.

    January 24, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Larry

    Some Republicans in Congress are pushing back against the plan, questioning whether it will stimulate the economy. They also say the overall price tag is too expensive and want to see more in tax cuts for individuals and businesses and less in government spending.Nothing positive came out of throwing the first $350 billion at the economy,now the government is going to blow the rest of the $ 700 billion that Bush got past,let us "SEE" what that does,and who gets it,before we approve of an additional $825 billion for Obama to blow ,we do not have any of this money to begin with,we are going to borrow it from who ? China ?

    January 24, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. Pat Canada

    I'm 100% for President Obama and think he will do great things towards moving America forward. And being a Canadian I know my opinion isn't warranted but just wondering if I'm misinterpreting his message? As quite frankly I find his Econmic Package confusing.

    He states America faces an unprecedented crisis calling for immediate, urgent, swift action to ensure the situation doesn't worsen dramatically. Yet the solutions he proposes, although great and well thought out plans for economic savings, seem to be economic ventures one would think, might take a considerable amount of time before savings would be realized and hence would delay immediate and urgent economic relief?

    "

    January 24, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Amber

    Republicans in Congress:

    So your grand counter offer is to do exactly what you've been doing the past 8 years? Giving tax credits to individuals and *cough* small businesses?

    That's worked out so well, so far.

    January 24, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. pat C.

    every day we become worse off so congress both dems and repubs had better get with obama's program before it is to late to ever get the US back on track to where we once were. it has been a week now and all we hear is bickering from both sides. we are fed up with this and we deserve better!
    send we american tax payers $50,000. each and we will fix the country within weeks. we are the ones that will spend the money on cars, our homes, clothing, groceries and dr. visits for our children.
    afterall isn't that what has happened?? we have stopped spending and put a halt to the economy. i can't think of an easier way for us americans to fix our own problem! the top got us into this and now the bottom can fix it for ourselves if we got the government bailout.

    January 24, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. GammaMama

    Although I didn't vote for Obama, I am all for supporting him. He has made so many Executive Orders this week. Gitmo, Torture etc, Those are admirable and grand, but if you have lost your job, are losing your house, suffering from the Economy as we all are this isn't very important. My God, Man do something! There must be something you can do to help! This is catastrophic ! Quit sitting on your hands making speeches!

    January 24, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Perusing-Through

    Actually, the economy is in a far worst state than anybody in "WISE" leadership is willing to acknowledge, and any pea-brain Legislature can truly comprehend. WISE Leadership won't tell the American people how bad it is because the nation will sink into a hopeless abyss; while the PEA-BRAIN Legislatures are too stupid to truly understand the depths of the "Bush-Cheney-Rove-Rumsfeld" disastrous debacle.

    January 24, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Barack wins and we collectively lose.

    Newsflash: Gov't stimulus packages have NEVER worked. Just ask Japan, or anyone that studied the New Deal. We got out of Depression when WWII kicked in not because of the artifically created jobs made by FDR. Gov't is inefficient and there will enormour waste and mismanagement of our funds. We are mortgaging our future.

    Instead of Government going to the Buffet of Liberal Dreams, we should be putting Government on a DIET!!!

    January 24, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. JB

    Bleak? The majority of us have been living it for a while now, so I call it reality. It's just refreshing to see a leader that realizes the full reality of the situation. Lord help us if another republican would have been elected.

    It may take a while, but better days are ahead.

    January 24, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Debby

    Yep and it will get worse. Microsoft for the first time has layed off thousands. The small and big business's are worried about Obama's tax credit to those 95% of Americans which they will be paying for. Obama should keep the Bush taxcuts in play at least till the economy picks up.

    January 24, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. Skyview

    Is it just me and my suspicions or is there a fly in the grits regarding the internet and wiring problems at the white house? Would not such a problem make a good cover for someone who wishes to hide or destroy e-mails and other data which the Bush administation does not want to get into the public domain? Did not the US Supreme Court recetly rule that all White house e-mails were public property and must be preserved: Again, may be its just my suspicious mind working overtime.

    January 24, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. Tochi

    First bold action should be to kill the dogma-Republican and Democratic. Economy is ready to be remade and it can be remade in the image of a new bi-partisan president. A new wall street should rise from the ashes of the present one-build a green economy that will lead the world-renew our infrastructue, education system and health system. Remake USA a new and the the smartest , hardworking and enterprising people in the world will respond. There is a reason USA is a world power and it is because of its people.

    January 24, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Ron

    Bleak? I don't know if you have been paying attention to current events pal, but things are already bleak. Obama's weekend address actually seemed pretty optimistic to me.

    January 24, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. JOE KILOZ

    MR,,,,,,,,,OBAMA,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,DO,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,YOU,,,,,,,,,,,,,THINK,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,YOUR,,,,

    IDEA,,,,,,,,,,,,,,OF,,,,,,,,,,,,ALWAYS,,,,,,,,,,,SAYING,,,,,,,,,,,IT'S,,,,,,,,,,,,,GOING,,,,,,,,,,

    TO,,,,,,,,,,,,GET,,,,,,,,,,,,WORSE,,,,,,,,,,,,,WILL,,,,,,,,,,,MAKE,,,,,,,,,,,IT,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    BETTER ? ? ?

    January 24, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Val in MA

    Obama and his scare tactics.

    And now he says that we have to listen to him and do what he says to do because "he won"? Does this mean that he is taking away our own thinking and our freedom to decide what WE THE PEOPLE think is best for our country? That's pure communism.

    People should wake up from their sweet dreams and wise up before this guy Obama destroys America, or what is left of it.

    January 24, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. cobra

    BO knows as much about economy as my democrat donkeys, didn't realize they were so smart, what a knuckle dragger.

    January 24, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. cnnnewser

    Our country is in BAD shape – we can thank the republicans and their horrible ideas for the mess we're in.
    They need to either provide good ideas or shut up – and, just so you know, the tax cuts they propose are not the answer.
    Our states are going broke – also our country.

    January 24, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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