February 9th, 2009
02:33 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama stumps for stimulus in Indiana: 'We can't afford to wait'

President Obama takes a question in Elkhart, Indiana, Monday where he said doing nothing was not an option.

President Obama takes a question in Elkhart, Indiana, Monday where he said doing nothing was not an option.

ELKHART, Indiana (CNN) - Seeking to rekindle last year's election magic, President Obama traded the beltway for the heartland Monday, hitting the road to make the case for his controversial $800 billion stimulus package in a part of the country particularly hard hit by the economic downturn.

Watch: 'We can't afford to wait,' the Pres. says

Addressing a raucous, campaign-style town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, Obama warned that the road to economic recovery would take years, and that a failure to pass an effective stimulus plan quickly could result in an "economic crisis as deep and as dire as the Great Depression."

The downturn could become a "crisis that at some point we may be unable to reverse," Obama told a packed high school gymnasium. "We can't afford to wait."

Elkhart has seen its unemployment rate triple to more than 15 percent over the past year. The city's jobless rate is roughly double the national average; a number of the nation's top recreational vehicle makers are located in Elkhart, and hundreds of workers at those plants have lost their jobs.

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Filed under: economic stimulus • Indiana • President Obama
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Matthew, Houston, TX

    TCM,

    No matter how often you say it, supply side economics does not work. Industry does not make hiring and layoff decisions based on tax credits, they make those decisions based on demand. Tax cuts to corporations when no one has any money to buy their products is just plain stupid and is one part of what has gotten us where we are.

    Go back to school and get an economics education before spouting off about something you obviously know nothing about.

    February 9, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. Noah

    Instead of cutting tax rates, instead of cutting capital gains taxes, instead of cutting taxes on business profits–all of which would make Americans wealthier and create jobs–the Obama strategy is to take $1 trillion from us and give it to the government.

    Welfare spending, government medical programs, subsidies for Amtrak, STD research, blah, blah–they all put money in the pockets of government workers. But what do they do for working Americans who create jobs and pay taxes? NOTHING

    February 9, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. mike in vancouver

    For all those thinking that we are leaving an incredible debt for future generations. . .what about the debt that we face right now? If and when the economy starts flowing again, we have a good chance to eat into that deficit every quarter and who knows, maybe the situation will be a lot brighter for subsequent generations. I do know that by doing nothing now, the existing debt is too large for this generation.

    Stop making excuses and get something rolling!

    February 9, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. Robert

    Where do you Republicans get that Bush inherited a recession.? What was the unemployment rate 4%? 4.5%? what was the prime interest rate (%? 9.5% He also "inherited" HUGE budget SURPLUS that he quickly wasted with his asinine "tax rebates" that I did'nt want or need but evidently the rich people did as repayment for financing his theft of the presidency.
    I don't see any reason a Republican should open his mouth for the next 4-8 years when the Democrats finally straighten out this mess as Clinton did after Bush 1 and then they also say I told you so again. Then lets see what you Republicans have to say!

    February 9, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Kpawlak

    Even if the people in Elkhart got to go back to their RV Industry jobs, the left will again squelch them because of those huge gas guzzling, environmentally damaging vehicles. What a dog and pony show!

    February 9, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Reuben Maldonado-Nofziger

    I wish that President Obama would make a stop out to Goshen College, in Goshen, IN, near Elkhart. As a student body we pushed very hard to see him succeed in the area and for the size of this small college we had a huge proportional impact. I realize that President Obama has much on his mind right now, but maybe someday, with all of his trips to the area he could stop out here and inspire all of us once again. President Obama still has my continued support and I hope that his administration will stick to the standards of peace, humanitarianism, and social responsibility.

    February 9, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. Bryan

    Maybe we ought to quit playing the blame game? Don't get me wrong: I voted for Obama and hated Bush. But it wasn't what Bush did, it's what wasn't done that infuriated me. However, the overall problem we are confronted with right now wasn't 'caused' by Bush. There is still very vague reasoning about 'what' the source of the problem is/was.

    While I support Obama, here's what I want to know: Clean energy, new jobs, etc... it's all the 'right thing to do'. But where is there a substantial, logical connection between those and our problem? The way i see it, people have been making about the same US dollars they've been making annually for years, but things are costing more. This has caused businesses to become leaner, cutting jobs, putting more people into poverty. So in short, if we can curb inflation, we can alleviate a lot of our issues. Our dollars will be worth more. Are there any resolutions involving reducing the amount of money in circulation so that prices will decrease?

    February 9, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Roger

    The Republican party needs to support President Obama's stimulus and shut up!! After the past 8 years, they have no reason, or for that matter right, to condone or criticize. If the stimulus doesn't work then I suppose we may be subjected to more Republicans in the next Congress, but if it does work they could claim bipartisanship and take some of the credit. The Republican party is not the know all or end all in this country and it's about time they woke up to this fact!!!!!

    February 9, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Maggie from Virginia

    Hey Sniffit,

    According to ABC News... Recent polls show the congressional republican disapproval rating is at a staggering 58%. They are well on their way to annihilation.

    February 9, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. G.O.P.'s New Slogan

    "When You Got Nothing, You Got Nothing To Lose."

    February 9, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Sam

    Mr. President:
    So sick of the Politics, the Republicans will say and do anything to
    keep you from fulfilling your promise to help the everyday American.
    I say stop reaching across, they are not worth it.

    February 9, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Felicia

    wtg!! Obama he shows tenacity, he's encouraging, and he shows gratitude, what President will go the extra mile for the little people.

    February 9, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Larry Schlueter

    Please show me one comment from a democrat that has some intelligence and facts. Here is a good comment with facts . . . there are two groups of people that are not effected by the economy . . . the politicians and the welfare recipents. Scary isn't it. And one more question . . . what is the estimated cost of the bill to each tax paying American? I dopn't want to know for each American, but the ones that will be required to pay the bill. And one more question, why should this bill cover state and cities that have a problem with managing their own budget. Why give something for poor behavior.

    February 9, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Shaun

    I love all these interesting comments. Bush didn't get us in this mess completely. It started in the 90's and continued into Clinton and then Bush. The gov't felt everyone should own a home and put pressue on banks to approve people for loans. Then once the ratings commission started rating this securities better than they really were which resulted in other banks buying this "good" securities and when the interest rate changed people couldn't afford the payments anymore. The homes in CA and FL are all about supply and demand. The demand was really high in both places so the price of the homes went through the roof (basic economics).

    The jobs being sent overseas, is called free trade and outsourcing. It is good for both countries. Yes it stinks when people lose their jobs. But what the media doesn't tell you is that when most of this began the US lost about 220K jobs per year overseas. But 250K jobs were created per year after outsourcing scare. There are plenty of economics articles out there that can educate you guys on this. Less than 20% of the people who lose their jobs due to layoff do not find a higher paying jobs. This is our second major recession in 25 years, they use to happen much more frequent. I don't think the gov't should just sit back and watch, but if they let it play out more everything will come back to equilibrium ie the housing market. Once the housing market comes back to the equilibrium point banks should begin lending money and companies will start hiring again.

    On a side not, why in the heck would someone only making 50K-100K per year even try and get a home for 700K+. Even if the bank says you qualify. People in this country must really be dumb to think the bank knows their financial situation better than themselves. I feel bad for some people how loose their homes, but the people who just go in over their heads, sorry you had to learn a lesson. I could type pages on how this isn't just Bush's fault. Clinton is to blame also.

    February 9, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. NoGop

    If we can't afford to wait then why is the GOP dictating how this is going to happen? Republicans are enjoying making a monkey out of Obama, Congress and the United States of America. Change? I don't think so. All I see are Republicans still running everything and the Democrats and allowing them to do it. Get real and let them filibuster the real way if they don't like what's happening. This is ridiculous and Democrats are showing how easily manipulated they are.

    February 9, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Go Barack, We're Behind You

    I love him, Barack Obama. Call me crazy, but I love Barack because I love my country. He's the best man for the job, and after three weeks, it shows.

    I'm so glad I voted for him and the country is as well.

    Barack Obama 2012.

    February 9, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Larry Schlueter

    There is a time when biudgets need to be dalanced. There can be multiple comments about what caused this mess . . . it makes no difference to give blame unless that is the only comment you are capable of making. Come on people . . . please, please show some intelligence.

    February 9, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Bob in Pa

    Yes We Can afford to wait. And if we wait long enough, our little resession will be over and this obese spending bill will have no place in our future. This is nothing more than a ploy to piggy back these items into the general budget

    February 9, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Matthew, Detroit

    Barack is naive and arrogant.

    February 9, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. kevin

    Please would you Rethugian wake up and understand this. Your boy GWB gave us all of this government, remember the last 8 years, come on now you must remember, the country was growing at a steady pace, every month, and every year. Now, in 2008 GWB, DC and the Rethugian your plans fell apart, and the whole world is falling apart. Now, guess how this happened because of Ronald Reagan and his Rethugian cohorts have been stripping the regulation first from the banking industry and then the housing industry, put them two together and we have this current economic crisis.

    First, their are these two wars, the first one I was all for it. The The Rethugian and the Neo-Dummies went into Iraq, and how is that working out for you.

    Second, we finally have a president that wants to help the people again al la Clinton. and clean up the Rethugian mess.

    February 9, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. gl, Pittsburgh

    Specter's Office Receives Suspicious Envelope. This just happen in the building I work at his Pittsburgh Office. The repulicans will stop at nothing to get their way.

    February 9, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. Jon

    Our grandchildren cannot afford this bill.

    February 9, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Marc

    Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA – Did you read the papers and magazines lately? The whole world is going theoretically Keynesian since the 'down with the regulation' led it to where it is now.
    Did you watched the coverage about Davos? And compared it to the previous editions of the yearly meeting? All that was comdemned and sentenced to extintion by the people there are now back to the governments agendas, like theoretical Keynesian ideas.
    Even China is having to adjust itself to the new reality (and like everywhere it's not a pleasant ride).
    So, since the majority of the economists that STILL have some credibility around the World are not against government intervention on the current crisis/recession, in the shape of Stimulus Bills all around, it might be the answer or, if you prefer, the bad tasting remedy we are needing now.
    Doing nothing, while waiting that the Economy by itself gets better, is NOT an option...

    February 9, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. Bob in Pa

    I'm tired of all this doom and gloom talk. We have been hearing it way too long. This will become a self fulfilling prophecy if they don't stop now !

    February 9, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. watcher

    I need to point something out to folks who are saying that we are in a recession after 8 years of failed economic policy.; actually, the economy was doing alright up until about two years ago. Think about it, financial crises, like the collapse of Enron or Worldcom, failed to bring things down. Even the attacks of 9/11 couldn't crush the US economy. However two years ago, under a Democratic majority in congress and the senate, things started to unravel. And what was at the root? Policies enacted during the term of Bill Clinton. So who deserves the blame, here folks?

    February 9, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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