Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
4 minutes reading time (801 words)

Obama Expresses Confidence

In his weekly address on Saturday, President Obama talked about the condition of the economy and steps the government is taking to turn it all around.

Obama reminded us that 651,000 jobs were lost in February, for a total of 4.4 million jobs lost since the start of the recession. He mentioned that the unemployment rate has surpassed 8%, the highest in a quarter century.

The President said, "These aren't just statistics, but hardships experienced personally by millions of Americans who no longer know how they'll pay their bills, or make their mortgage, or raise their families.

"From the day I took office, I knew that solving this crisis would not be easy, nor would it happen overnight. And we will continue to face difficult days in the months ahead. But I also believe that we will get through this - that if we act swiftly and boldly and responsibly, the United States of America will emerge stronger and more prosperous than it was before."

Obama said that his administration is committed to do all that is necesary to address the crisis and lead us to a better day - by moving forward to create jobs, helping responsible homeowners, and promoting lending to consumers and businesses, all while addressing long-term issues such as the cost of health care, our dependence on oil, and the state of our schools.

He said the plan to help prevent 4 million foreclosures through the Making Home Affordable Program is already in motion and that the program will help millions more homeowners by lowering interest rates and lifting home values.

Obama said that steps are being taken to restart the flow of credit and stabilize the financial markets, "On Thursday, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve launched the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative - a plan that will generate up to a trillion dollars of new lending so that families can finance a car or college education - and small businesses can raise the capital that will create jobs."

He talked about the 3.5 million jobs that would be saved or created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. "And because of this plan, those who have lost their job in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage, while 95% of working Americans will receive a tax break beginning April 1st.

"Of course, like every family going through hard times, our country must make tough choices. In order to pay for the things we need - we cannot waste money on the things we don't.

"My administration inherited a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, the largest in history. And we've inherited a budgeting process as irresponsible as it is unsustainable. For years, as Wall Street used accounting tricks to conceal costs and avoid responsibility, Washington did, too," he said.

Obama said that irresponsible budgets and inexcusable practices are now in the past, and that "for the first time in many years, my administration has produced a budget that represents an honest reckoning of where we are and where we need to go."

He said the budget will make those long-avoided hard choices needed to get the country's finances in order. It includes $2 trillion in deficit reduction while investing in America's future. It reduces discretionary spending in non-defense programs as a share of the economy by more than 10% over the next ten years, which will bring it to the lowest level since they began keeping track nearly a half a century ago.

Obama said that on Wednesday he signed a presidential memorandum to end unnecessary no-bid contracts and dramatically reform the way contracts are awarded. He esitimates that these reforms will save taxpayers up to $40 billion each year.

Obama also stressed that we cannot bring our deficit down or grow our economy without tackling the skyrocketing cost of health care. He held a health care summit on Thursday to begin the long-overdue process of reform. "Our ideas and opinions about how to achieve this reform will vary, but our goal must be the same: quality, affordable health care for every American that no longer overwhelms the budgets of families, businesses, and our government."

The President closed his address, "Yes, this is a moment of challenge for our country. But we've experienced great trials before. And with every test, each generation has found the capacity to not only endure, but to prosper - to discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis. That is what we can and must do today. And I am absolutely confident that is what we will do. I'm confident that at this defining moment, we will prove ourselves worthy of the sacrifice of those who came before us, and the promise of those who will come after."

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Sunday, 01 August 2021

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