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Obama's economic battle plan set out

By Guy Adams

Published 24/11/2008

Barack Obama will formally unveil his economic team in Chicago today, as he sets to work on fleshing out ambitious proposals to lift the US out of its rapidly-escalating financial crisis. Timothy Geithner has been tapped as Treasury Secretary, while Larry Summers, a treasury secretary under president Bill Clinton, will head the National Economic Council.

Over the weekend, the President-elect said the US economy needed to create 2.5 million jobs by 2011, through government investment in infrastructure projects such as new roads and bridges. No price tag has been put on this economic stimulus package. During the election race, Mr Obama was talking about $175bn, but Charles Schumer, a leading Democratic Senator, now estimates the new president needs to come up with $500bn-700bn to make a meaningful difference.

In another sign of how swiftly the economic climate is deteriorating, there were signs that Mr Obama may have to forget his election pledge to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year. In a television interview yesterday, his aide David Axelrod suggested that the tax cuts for high-earners, introduced by George Bush, might be allowed to expire in 2010, rather than being revoked when Mr Obama takes office in January.

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