Obama pitches stimulus plan

Back from vacation in Hawaii, the president-elect sells spending package.

By Salon Staff

Published January 3, 2009 1:58PM (EST)

In his weekly address -- on the radio and YouTube -- Barack Obama gave some further hints as to what his economic stimulus plan holds in store, without mentioning what it will cost in billions of dollars.

The President-elect pledged that the plan, which he called the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan," would create three million new jobs, 80 percent of them in the private sector. Obama said it will include doubling renewable-energy production and renovating public buildings to make them more energy-efficient. He promised funding for rebuilding the country's crumbling roads, buildings and bridges, and constructing new school classrooms, labs and libraries. He also said the plan would include money for computerizing the country's healthcare system.

Obama reflected on the toll of the current economic crisis: "Nearly two million Americans have lost their jobs this past year. Millions more are working harder in jobs that pay less and come with fewer benefits. For too many families this new year brings new unease, uncertainty, as bills pile up, debts continue to mount and parents worry that their children won't have the same opportunities that they had."

He argued that without a stimulus plan the country could face a "much deeper economic downturn" including double-digit unemployment. But he concluded on an upbeat note: "We are a people of boundless industry and ingenuity." Obama said. "We have always triumphed in moments of trial by drawing on that great American spirit....In this new year, let us resolve to do so once more."

Next week, Obama will go to Capitol Hill to try to sell Congress on the plan, in hopes that he can get some version of it passed on or shortly after his inauguration January 20th. This Monday, Obama will meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss the plan.

Here's Obama's address:

Salon Staff

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