Obama pieces together economic plan

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama's economic team on Saturday announced its goal for new jobs, increasing the target to 3.5 million new positions to help boost a troubled economy that has dominated the incoming administration's agenda.

By (AP)

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Published: Sat 10 Jan 2009, 5:26 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:13 AM

Obama released a report from his economic team that claimed a $775 billion economic stimulus package he is proposing would create well more than the 3 million jobs contained in his first draft. His top advisers note that the plan was subject "to significant margins of error" because of the uncertainties of economic modeling and no one — including his own economists — know what version of his plan Congress will pursue.

Even so, Obama's top aides were not going to wait, despite unclear limits on their report.

"These numbers are a stark reminder that we simply cannot continue on our current path," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and YouTube broadcast address.

"If nothing is done, economists from across the spectrum tell us that this recession could linger for years and the unemployment rate could reach double digits — and they warn that our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and standing in the world," he said.

His new report comes at the end of a week that Obama spent largely dealing with critics of his economic plan.

The president-elect has taken great care not to undermine President George W. Bush on international issues, but he has shown no reluctance to challenge the president on domestic matters, especially the badly ailing economy that Obama will inherit from the Bush White House.

"We won't just create jobs, we'll also provide help for those who've lost theirs, and for states and families who've been hardest-hit by this recession," Obama said. "That means bipartisan extensions of unemployment insurance and health care coverage; a $1,000 tax cut for 95 percent of working families; and assistance to help states avoid harmful budget cuts in essential services like police, fire, education and health care."

The employment issue grew more pressing with the release Friday of a Labor Department report showing job losses of 524,000 in December and a 7.2 percent unemployment rate, the highest in 16 years.

The U.S. lost some 2.6 million jobs last year. Another 3.4 million American workers settled for part-time jobs, despite their needs and wants for full-time employment, Obama noted.

"Its not too late to change course — but only if we take immediate and dramatic action. Our first job is to put people back to work and get our economy working again," he said.

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