Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama Announces Economic Team; Hints at Plans for New Stimulus Legislation

Obama Eyes $500 Billion In Stimulus, Wall Street Journal
Obama Unveils Team to Tackle 'Historic' Crisis, New York Times

As his Inauguration Day draws closer, the pressure mounts on President-Elect Barack Obama to unveil his plans to deal with the increasingly serious economic crisis. Over the course of the weekend and Monday, Obama, his transition team, and congressional Democratic leaders outlined their plans for an ambitious—and expensive—economic stimulus package.

In addition to announcing the formation of his team of core economic advisors—led by Treasury Secretary appointee Timothy Geithner (the current president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York), Commerce Secretary Appointee New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and Chairman of the White House Economic Council former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers—Obama and his aides released certain details of their proposed $500 billion economic stimulus package. The proposed legislation will likely contain increased federal investment in aid to struggling American companies, tax cuts, and measures to make it easier for individual Americans to borrow money. While Obama told reporters that he did not believe that the U.S. auto industry should be allowed to collapse, he did not offer specific opinions on a potential bailout of automakers.

Obama and his team are reportedly working very closely with both the Bush administration and the Congressional leadership in preparing for and crafting the new stimulus legislation. Both the Obama transition team and Congressional leaders expressed the need to pass additional stimuli as soon as possible. Accordingly, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid committed to taking up the legislation immediately after the new Congress convenes so that, in the leaders’ words, it will be ready for President Obama’s signature on inauguration day.

Discussion Questions:
1) Are President Elect Obama's choices for his economic team right? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the team?
2)Should there be a new package of stimulus legislation? What should it contain?


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Jason said...

With the Treasury Secretary on his spending spree he surely isn’t trying to get a good return on the tax payers’ investment. The bailout was to buy up bad mortgage debt but it never did. What is the purpose of the fund? Paulson’s has warrants on many banks and they average 1 – 3 percent when enacted. Yet the cash investment is about 20 percent of the market cap. Maybe the next Treasury Secretary will be less erratic.