January 8th, 2009
06:34 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama urges Congress to act quickly on economic aid package

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/08/transition.wrap/art.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="Barack Obama says failure to act quickly on his economic plan would have devastating consequences."]President-elect Barack Obama will call on Congress Thursday to move quickly on his economic aid package once he takes office, warning that a failure to do so would have devastating long-term consequences for the nation.

"I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible," Obama will say in a speech on the economy, according to advanced excerpts of his remarks provided to CNN by a Transition official. "If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years."

Watch: Obama urging quick action on the economy

Obama will also address critics, who oppose such a massive spending plan by the federal government.

"It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe," Obama is expected to say at the late morning speech to be delivered at George Mason University in Virginia.

Full story

Excerpts after the jump


Excerpts of President-elect Barack Obama's speech on the economy provided to CNN by a Transition official:

I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible. If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future. And our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and standing in the world.

In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.


There is no doubt that the cost of this plan will be considerable. It will certainly add to the budget deficit in the short-term. But equally certain are the consequences of doing too little or nothing at all, for that will lead to an even greater deficit of jobs, incomes, and confidence in our economy. It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy – where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending; where an inability to lend and borrow stops growth and leads to even less credit.

That is why we need to act boldly and act now to reverse these cycles. That’s why we need to put money in the pockets of the American people, create new jobs, and invest in our future. That’s why we need to re-start the flow of credit and restore the rules of the road that will ensure a crisis like this never happens again.

That work begins with this plan – a plan I am confident will save or create at least three million jobs over the next few years. It is not just another public works program. It’s a plan that recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment – the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work, even as, all around the country, there is so much work to be done. That’s why we’ll invest in priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century. That’s why the overwhelming majority of the jobs created will be in the private sector, while our plan will save the public sector jobs of teachers, cops, firefighters and others who provide vital services.


I understand that some might be skeptical of this plan. Our government has already spent a good deal of money, but we haven’t yet seen that translate into more jobs or higher incomes or renewed confidence in our economy. That’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan won’t just throw money at our problems – we’ll invest in what works. The true test of the policies we’ll pursue won’t be whether they’re Democratic or Republican ideas, but whether they create jobs, grow our economy, and put the American Dream within reach of the American people.

Instead of politicians doling out money behind a veil of secrecy, decisions about where we invest will be made transparently, and informed by independent experts wherever possible. Every American will be able to hold Washington accountable for these decisions by going online to see how and where their tax dollars are being spent. And as I announced yesterday, we will launch an unprecedented effort to eliminate unwise and unnecessary spending that has never been more unaffordable for our nation and our children’s future than it is right now.


Now, this recovery plan alone will not solve all the problems that led us into this crisis. We must also work with the same sense of urgency to stabilize and repair the financial system we all depend on. That means using our full arsenal of tools to get credit flowing again to families and business, while restoring confidence in our markets. It means launching a sweeping effort to address the foreclosure crisis so that we can keep responsible families in their homes. It means preventing the catastrophic failure of financial institutions whose collapse could endanger the entire economy, but only with maximum protections for taxpayers and a clear understanding that government support for any company is an extraordinary action that must come with significant restrictions on the firms that receive support. And it means reforming a weak and outdated regulatory system so that we can better withstand financial shocks and better protect consumers, investors, and businesses from the reckless greed and risk-taking that must never endanger our prosperity again.

No longer can we allow Wall Street wrongdoers to slip through regulatory cracks. No longer can we allow special interests to put their thumbs on the economic scales. No longer can we allow the unscrupulous lending and borrowing that leads only to destructive cycles of bubble and bust.

It is time to set a new course for this economy, and that change must begin now. We should have an open and honest discussion about this recovery plan in the days ahead, but I urge Congress to move as quickly as possible on behalf of the American people. For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs. More families will lose their savings. More dreams will be deferred and denied. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Mike Dallas


    If you spent more time listening to Obama before you blast him, you would know he has already called for NO earmarks on this new bill.

    You would also know that the 500 is a not a rebate but a reduction in holding taxes until the amount is met.

    You ignorant twit, try to stay current and then blast him if you have legit gripe instead of just whining to be whining.

    January 8, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Chuck, Tennessee

    I absolutely agree with transparency in government contracts and other government expenditures. I also agree that some government spending is necessary to help the economy. However, I hope Obama's plan includes conducting the line-by-line review of the government budget and cutting programs that do not work or are unnecessary. The money for this stimulus must come from somewhere and saving money from within the government is a good start.

    January 8, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. richard rohde

    The ignorance displayed by the lefties in their postings is frightening. PEBO is on the right track, hopefully he can save us from the politburo led by Reid and Pelosi.

    January 8, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. Norom

    Stop Slick Barry!! January 8th, 2009 7:07 am ET

    Don't let this slick salesman have his way. We can't afford all this new spending, new programs, and new debt.

    How was your 8 year nap?

    January 8, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. AnaB

    To all those doing nothing but complaining, do any of you have any better ideas? If so, why didn't YOU run for President? Obviously something has to be done and if citizens can't/won't put money back into the economy, someone has to. Tell me this some of you repubs, if it was McCain who had won and was doing the same exact thing, would you be complaining then?

    January 8, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. RealityKing

    Obama will make a fine used car salesman after his impeachment..

    January 8, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Janey

    I plan to act quickly to quit my job so I can benefit from the handouts–Do I understand correctly– if you pay no tax, you still get a check?

    January 8, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Larry in Houston TX

    WoW !! Some of these comments !!! WoW !

    well, from what I've heard over the last few months, it will be 20 years
    before any Republican wins the White House…..We in Houston have a Mayor that is In his 2nd term….and people in Houston would love to have him IN again, if they could…

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. Marilyn

    Obama's scare tactics sound just like Bush when he was selling the Iraq war. He is basically saying, "do it my way or you'll be sorry". With his plan for even more government spending and more bailouts the Bush recession may soon become the Obama depression.

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. demwit

    We have nothing to worry about until the national debt reaches 17 trillion. 120% of the GDP or Frances level of debt...

    January 8, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. RealityKing

    Liberal change you can believe in, and was warned about..

    January 8, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. FreeNLovIt

    To Marilyn

    It is not a scare tactic. It is the ULTIMATE Truth. Our economy is dying from a heart ATTACK. You dont want to wait 2 months before you do something about it.

    You MUST have a job that is why it's easy for you to say that.

    January 8, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. FreeNLovIt

    Remember with just 20milion or something like that, Clinton pushed out an economic stimuls package that REVOLUTIONIZED America. It gave us the INternet and fueled the BEST minds. Clinton didnt rely on WAR to bail out an economy. Use your GOD-given talents!! Dont sit and chew hays with cows. We're not in teh 30's anymore.

    January 8, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. latina for Obama

    To all you negative haters critizising Obama for trying to pull us out of this mess ( that our current president put us in and cant get us out ),
    let's hear your wonderfull input on how to solve this disasterous economic problem. we are interested in hearing how you are going to fix this.......... crickrt...crickrt...crickrt....crickrt....crickrt......crickrt.......
    Yeah that's what I thought!

    January 8, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. Proud American

    Thank You Mr. Obama for getting this done now, and getting republicans Idiots back to work and off this blog.

    January 8, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. liz

    The sheer ignorance on this forum is appalling! All colored by ideology.

    It's not "the last 8 years" as many state, it's about the last 45, get a grip.

    It's not jut a Republican mess, it's an American mess, Dems are just as guilty, bottom line, 95% of all of them are bums.

    What's worse, Charlie Rangel and his misgiving or Larry Craig?
    Both hypocrites, both ignorant, one taps his foot, the other taps into the public trough.

    If you went up and down both sides of the aisle the arrogance, greed, underhandedness and incompetence would reek from either source.

    I wish all the best to the new administration, but with an ineffective body led by Pelosi and Reid feel the deck is really stacked against it.

    January 8, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. a REAL American

    Wait a minute.... don't we only have "one sitting president at a time"? Oh, that's only for when Obama has no clue what to say or do. How convenient!

    Oh yeah, by the way Mari.... speaking of "hate, lies, fear, and division mongers", maybe you should take a quick peek at some of the comments posted about anybody with the last name "Palin", or better yet check out the comments about "Joe the plumber" today. Interesting, isn't it, that those comments aren't coming from "far-right-nuts", but rather the so-called "tolerant, enlightened" left!

    January 8, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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