Obama: ‘Greatest Economic Challenge of our Lifetime’

HarpBlaster.com News Wire

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2008 — President-elect Barack Obama said he will confront the country’s financial crisis – which he referred to as the “greatest economic challenge of our lifetime” – as soon as he takes office.

“Immediately after I become president I will confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity,” said Obama, who said he favors another bailout and relief for the so-called “middle class.”

The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage point to 6.5 percent in October, and the number of unemployed people increased by 603,000 to 10.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the past year, the number of unemployed people has increased by 2.8 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 1.7 percentage points.

“Today’s report underscores the importance of restoring the health of our banking system and credit markets so that employers can rebound and create jobs,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said. “It will take time for the impact of the economic rescue package to be felt on the broader economy and the labor market.”

Obama is slated to meet with Bush Monday. The president-elect has already put together an economic team that includes past and present government and business officials, including investor Warren Buffett.

“The Federal government has taken aggressive and decisive measures to address this situation. It will take time for these measures to have their full impact on an economy in which many Americans are struggling. But in recent days, we have seen some encouraging signs,” the president said. “The market for lending between banks has loosened considerably, and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stabilize the commercial paper market have provided businesses with an urgently needed source of financing for day-to-day operations.

“In the weeks ahead, my Administration will continue working to return our economy to the path of prosperity and growth,” Bush added. “I will continue urging Members of Congress to approve free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, and I look forward to hosting an international financial summit with leaders of both developed and developing nations on (Nov. 15).

“I understand that Americans remain deeply concerned about the challenges facing our economy, but our economy has overcome great challenges before, and we can be confident that it will do so again,” Bush said.

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