Obama Warns Economy Is 'Going To Get Worse'

Obama speaks to NBC's Tom Brokaw i i

hide captionPresident-elect Barack Obama speaks to host Tom Brokaw during a taping of Meet the Press Saturday in Chicago. Obama discussed his plans for the economy, the war in Iraq and his Cabinet choices.

Scott Olson/Getty Images for Meet the Press
Obama speaks to NBC's Tom Brokaw

President-elect Barack Obama speaks to host Tom Brokaw during a taping of Meet the Press Saturday in Chicago. Obama discussed his plans for the economy, the war in Iraq and his Cabinet choices.

Scott Olson/Getty Images for Meet the Press

On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, President-elect Barack Obama warned Americans not to expect a quick economic turnaround.

"This is a big problem, and it's going to get worse," Obama said during the pre-taped interview.

To climb out of the recession, Obama called for the most ambitious stimulus program since the government built the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

Stimulus packages in the past few years have been aimed at getting consumers to spend more — that's not what Obama is talking about. He told reporters in Chicago on Sunday that his economic team is working on a stimulus package that would create jobs — to rebuild roads and bridges, and go far beyond.

"Making our economy more energy efficient — school construction, laying broadband lines, instituting medical information technologies that could drive down costs," he said.

Skeptics have questioned just how fast these projects could begin, but Obama says a number of governors tell him they have projects that are, as he put it, "shovel ready."

Other projects, Obama said, could have long-term economic payoffs beyond the recession.

"We can emerge leaner, meaner, and ultimately more competitive and more prosperous."

Congressional leaders say the emerging stimulus program could cost between $400 billion and $700 billion. The Obama team has not disputed those figures, but the president-elect says now is not the time to worry about a growing deficit.

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