Spotlight Exclusives

Obama Economic Stimulus Speech Suggests Big Problems Ahead for Low-Income Families

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President-Elect Barack Obama’s remarks on his economic stimulus package were released to media outlets this morning. While he doesn’t mention poverty specifically, he hits on some highly relevant points for low-income families.. Of particular interest for OOTS readers, he notes that a prolonged recession could cost a family of four up to $12,000 in lost income. For millions of Americans, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, this would be devastating. .  (For more on this, see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report:  Recession could cause large increases in poverty and push millions into deep poverty.)  Here are a few highlights fromhis prepared remarks:

I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible. If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future.

.Work begins with this plan – a plan I am confident will save or create at least three million jobs over the next few years. It is not just another public works program. It’s a plan that recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment – the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work, even as, all around the country, there is so much work to be done.

The true test of the policies we’ll pursue won’t be whether they’re Democratic or Republican ideas, but whether they create jobs, grow our economy, and put the American Dream within reach of the American people.

That means using our full arsenal of tools to get credit flowing again to families and business, while restoring confidence in our markets. It means launching a sweeping effort to address the foreclosure crisis so that we can keep responsible families in their homes.

At the end, he finishes strong:

For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs. More families will lose their savings. More dreams will be deferred and denied. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

It is encouraging to see a shared emphasis on properly regulating financing markets and providing assistance to those who need it most. In closing, I’ll quote Susan G at Daily Kos, who offers a keen observation:

After a couple of decades of hearing government bashed at every turn as evil incarnate, it’s more than refreshing to hear an unapologetic argument made that a vigorous and active role for government is not only a legitimate option, but absolutely necessary for recovery.

posted by Josh


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