Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama tells US of his radical new agenda.

It is what Obama calls "both the paradox and the promise of this moment":

"There are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all around the country, there's so much work to be done," he said.
To address this paradox he has suggested that the US should act "as citizens, not partisans" and back what he admits are radical plans to rescue the world's economy.

Speaking to the nation - in a YouTube version of Roosevelt's fireside chats on radio - Obama told Americans that the nation faced disaster on an almost unprecedented scale. He said the economy could end up $1 trillion short of its capacity, translating into a disastrous $12,000 loss for an average family. "We could lose a generation of potential, as more young Americans are forced to forgo college dreams or the chance to train for the jobs of the future," Obama said in the five-minute address. "In short, if we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse."

There is no doubt the task facing Obama is huge. The already battered stockmarket has been sliding further. Manufacturing is now at a 28-year low and the headline unemployment rate is ticking up towards a predicted peak of 10%. A staggering one in 10 homeowners is facing the risk of repossession and 2008 saw 2.6m jobs lost, the highest number since the second world war. Perhaps it was not surprising that Obama used his address to also warn Americans that recovery would be neither easy nor quick. "No one policy or programme will solve the challenges we face right now, nor will this crisis recede in a short period of time," he said.

His plans are radical:

There will be funding for state-level infrastructure projects and healthcare coverage will be given to some 8.5 million Americans. Four million students will also get college grants. Obama's vow to "green" the economy will be made good - the president said he would double the amount of electricity generated from alternative sources such as solar power and wind within three years. More than 2.5m homes will also be converted to cut heating bills. Obama said his scheme would spend some $600bn within 18 months and create up to 4m jobs.
Just as Roosevelt laid out the New Deal, Obama is laying out his radical plans to stave off the worst financial recession since the Great Depression. I have no idea whether or not his plans will succeed. All I know is that the position we now find ourselves in is terrifying.

But his plan is the only alternative on the table, other than the Cameron approach of doing nothing and allowing the recession to do it's worst.

Faced with doing nothing and doing something I will always favour the latter. I hope that I am right. And I hope that Obama is.

But at this moment in time, if I am utterly honest, I am relying on nothing other than hope.

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Steel Phoenix said...

Much of this I wouldn't do, but I've seen worse plans.

Kel said...

I know what you man, SP. I watched a programme last night on the Great Depression and found it terrifying.

I back Obama on this simply because he has a plan. And that's preferable to doing nothing.