Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Obama urges patience over economy

President Obama

President Barack Obama continued to push the case for his ambitious budget today during a televised speech in which he said progress was being made, but economic recovery would take time.

As part of an ongoing media blitz, which has also seen appearances on sports network ESPN and a late night chat show, Mr Obama held his second prime-time news conference as president.

In it, he called for "patience" as America struggles to bring about an end to the recession, adding that the country would "recover".

His comments come in a week in which the administration announced its latest measures to kick-start the flatlined US economy.

On Monday, Treasury secretary Tim Geithner detailed plans to free-up the frozen credit markets.

Low-interest loans and up to 100 billion dollars (£69 billion) of bailout money will be used to entice private sector investors into buying up about 500 billion dollars (£345 billion) of toxic assets.

By taking them off the banks' books, it is hoped that it will encourage liquidity in the market and an easing of the recession.

It was the latest in a rush of measures announced by the administration, the centre piece of which has been a near-800 billion dollar stimulus package and a far-reaching budget.

Referring to the plans already announced, Mr Obama said today: "We've put in place a comprehensive strategy designed to attack this crisis on all fronts. It's a strategy to create jobs, to help responsible homeowners, to re-start lending and to grow our economy over the long-term.

"And we are beginning to see signs of progress."

To what extent progress has been made is a moot point. Wall Street - along with global markets - rallied on Monday on the back of the toxic asset announcement.

But gains fell back today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is still down from when Mr Obama was sworn-in as president.

In today's address, carried by a number of TV networks, Mr Obama pushed the case for his budget. He said investment in green energy would wean America off foreign oil.

Meanwhile healthcare spending would equip children with the skills to compete in the global economy and healthcare expenditure would bring down the long-term costs for families, businesses and government.

In a call on Americans to back his economic plans, Mr Obama added: "We will recover from this recession. But it will take time, it will take patience and it will take an understanding that when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other - that's when we succeed. That is when we prosper.

"And that's what is needed right now. So let us look towards the future with a renewed sense of common purpose, a renewed determination, and most importantly, a renewed confidence that a better day will come."

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