Obama aides call for massive economic recovery plan

November 24, 2008 4:08:11 AM PST
Aides to President-elect Barack Obama are calling on Congress to pass a massive economic recovery plan in time for his inauguration.That word comes Sunday night, just hours before Obama reveals key members of his economic team. Some experts say Obama will be taking over an economy could be the worst since the Great Depression.

Democratic leaders in Congress are promising to get to work on the rescue plan in early January.

"We'll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges," Obama said.

Sound familiar?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said something similar during his presidency: "Our greatest primary task is to put people back to work,"

Just as FDR did to dig America out of the Great Depression, Obama plans to rescue the economy with a huge plan that will create 2.5 million jobs over the next two years with government infrastructure projects.

"He wants to put people back to work repairing bridges, repairing schools, working on those alternative energy projects. We'll do what needs to be done to get economy moving again," said David Axelrod, a senior advisor to Obama.

The price tag to get the economy moving again is expected in the hundreds of billions of dollars, much more than the $175 billion Obama talked about during his campaign.

"It's going to be a number big enough that when they spell it out, it looks like [the word] 'Ooooo,' that many zero's in it," said Obama senior economic advisor Austan Goolsbee.

Some economic experts say when consumers are not spending, the government must step in to stimulate a tanking economy, even it means going deeper into the red.

"Deficit spending for infrastructure is an investment. You have a highway [for example] that you're going to be able to use for the next 50 years, as opposed to something like consumer spending. You get more bang for buck," DePaul University finance Professor Rebel Cole.

To help Obama oversee the bold plan are his picks to lead his economic team. The president-elect is expected to name New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner as the treasury secretary, and a man who used to hold that job, Larry Summers, as the choice to lead the National Economic Council.

"I suspect he'll be that power behind the throne, so far as the treasury department," Cole said.

As Obama's economic team is put in place, there is a strong possibility the economic crisis will postpone Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy.

In the meantime, Obama's top aides say they are holding back on a government bailout of the auto industry until U.S. automakers can show Congress they are worth rescuing.

Axelrod warned Detroit's big three they must retool and rationalize their industry for the future.

President-elect Obama is scheduled to announce his economic team at a news conference in Chicago Monday at 11 a.m. ABC7 Chicago will broadcast the news conference live.


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