Sunday, December 21, 2008

Urgent: Change

The Obama government in waiting is upping the ante on economic recovery, aiming to create (or save) 3 million jobs instead of 2.5 million. NY Times: The new job target was set after a meeting last Tuesday in which Christina D. Romer, who is Mr. Obama’s choice to lead his Council of Economic Advisers, presented information about previous recessions to establish that the current downturn was likely to be “more severe than anything we’ve experienced in the past half-century,” according to an Obama official familiar with the meeting.

The Times reported the package being considered included a lot of immediate infrastructure projects, money for schools and education. Federal money to local governments would come with a “use it or lose it” clause under Mr. Obama’s plans, advisers say. The president-elect will also propose to direct some money to public and private partnerships for major projects like a national energy grid intended to harness alternative energy sources such as wind power.

VP Joe Biden defined one of his roles on Sunday: chairing a "middle class task force" to make sure federal efforts were making a positive difference for workers and their families.

That becomes all the more important on a day that the AP reported Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post found widespread public support for the Obama agenda:Majorities think Obama should help make major changes to the health-care system, enact new energy policies and institute a moratorium on home foreclosures. Majorities expect him to end U.S. involvement in Iraq, improve health care and turn around America's image abroad.

The Post noted optimism that Obama will help the economy recover, but a desire that he move beyond the economy to other agenda items quickly.

84 percent who want him to drive an effort to require electricity companies to increase the use of renewable sources of energy. A majority, 55 percent, want him to tackle the issue right after taking office in January.

A majority want Obama to make big changes to the country's health-care system, with 63 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents saying they want the changes right away.

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