Economists unsure about economic plan, Obama team

Obama wants economic plan 'right away'
CHICAGO Obama named his new economic team Monday. Leading the way is the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Timothy Geithner.

Geithner will serve as Obama's treasury secretary and will be the point man on the financial crisis.

The first order of business for President-elect Barack Obama Monday was to reassure the jittery financial markets that he is on top of the crisis with an economic A-team that includes Geitner , Larry Summers, who had Geitner's job in the Clinton administration, and Cristina Romer, Cal-Berkeley economics professor, as the top White House economic advisors.

Policy expert Melody Barnes has been picked to run the White House Domestic Policy Council.

"I sought leaders who could offer sound judgment and fresh thinking. That work starts today. We do not have a minute to waste," Obama said.

The new team is responsible for drafting an economic recovery plan as soon as possible that protects Wall Street and Main Street by stabilizing the financial markets and accelerating the flow of credit. The plan also needs to help the auto industry, and at the same time, protect homeowners from foreclosures. Additionally, it must rebuild the infrastructure to create $2.5 million new jobs by 2011.

"We are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. We need a big stimulus package that will jolt the economy back into shape," said the president-elect.

"I think the president-elect is right on target. It is great to give Wall Street a bailout, but Main Street is where it is happening," the Chicago Federation of Labor's Dennis Gannon said.

According to the Republican National Committee, Obama's "proposed billions of dollars in new government spending will come at a burdensome cost to American families and small businesses. The 'cuts and sacrifices' will not be made by his friends in Washington, but rather by job creators facing devastating tax increases across America."

The RNC is referring to Obama's continued support for higher taxes on upper income Americans.

"Those that are making more than $250,000 a year can afford to pay a little more," Obama said.

"Certainly everyone is concerned of what the impact will be. That is certainly something that they need to be careful about," said Lawrence Msall of the Civic Federation.

Obama was not saying whether the Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans should be repealed now, or allowed to expire in 2010.

Meanwhile, the Obama transition team is announcing the co-chairs for the inauguration, and they are all from Chicago: Banker Bill Daley, the mayor's brother, billionaire Penny Pritzker, Obama's fundraising wizard, and financial advisor John Rogers of Ariel Capital Management.

President-elect Obama will reveal more information about his economic plan at another news conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. The news conference will be broadcast live on television on ABC7 and online at

Wednesday at 9 p.m., an ABC News special on the Obama family will be broadcast on ABC7. Barbara Walters interviews the president-elect and his wife, Michelle.

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