February 17th, 2009
09:50 AM ET

Obama Faces Growing Economic Storms

Program Note: Tune in to hear more from David Gergen tonight on the AC360° at 10 p.m. ET. And watch him on the CNN Money Summit on Friday at 11 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/11/borger.obama/art.obama.news.gi.jpg]

David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

This is a good moment to look ahead at the extraordinary challenges facing President Obama and how he and his team will try to solve them. Based on what has appeared in the public press as well as personal conversations in Washington, here is my best take:

In winning passage of the stimulus package, the President managed his way successfully through his first storm but he and his team recognize there are darker, more treacherous ones ahead. The economy has been deteriorating at such an accelerating rate in recent months that the administration had to expand the size of the stimulus package far beyond what they originally envisioned. If the economy continues to sink – and signs around the globe point in that direction – even this package will not be big enough. And economists of almost every stripe complain that its impact was weakened during the political wrangling.

For now, administration insiders believe that the package will begin to help quickly in saving jobs that might have been lost (e.g., with infusions of fresh money, state governments will not have to fire as many people). But insiders are not really expecting the stimulus to start creating many new jobs - or at least those that will show up in statistics – until early next year. Moreover, they recognize that they may have to come back for additional installments of stimulus in the months ahead. No future package should be as large, but there is likely to be a clear need to expand unemployment benefits again. So, look for more stimulus down the road – we just don't know how much.

Here, in a nutshell, is a take on other issues rushing at the administration:

The auto crisis – As General Motors and Chrysler send their reports to Washington, scheduled today, there is a sense in the administration that no good choices lie ahead. The options are likely to boil down to a big, new infusion of money from the feds or a structured bankruptcy of the companies. Either way, there will be pain for auto workers, creditors, shareholders and others. In contrast to a few weeks ago, when the Obama team seemed extremely reluctant to allow a structured bankruptcy, I sense that they may be more open to the idea today. The fact that the President did not appoint a "car czar" suggests that they are not looking to have the tough medicine administered by the administration – as Democrats, do they really want to slice wages and close plants? – but rather, they might prefer to have it done by the courts or some other independent force.

The housing crisis – The President is scheduled to announce a relief plan this Wednesday in hard-hit Phoenix. The first question will be whether it has enough details to judge what it will do – something sadly lacking in the bank bailout "plan" announced by Treasury Secretary Geithner a few days ago. (He got badly hurt in that episode but can still rehabilitate the policy and himself.) The other issue is how the administration will provide mortgage relief to homeowners – if it is through cash infusions, that will be expensive, but if it is through judicial interventions, that could send up interest rates. My bet: more money. One good thing about a housing solution: it adds to stimulus.

The banking crisis – This is the lollapalooza. The cost of a banking bailout will be at least three times as big as the stimulus package. In the estimate of many experts, much of the banking industry (not all) is insolvent – its liabilities now exceed the value of its marked-down assets. So far, the government is ducking the question of how to get those toxic assets off the books of the banks. There is a growing sense in Washington and on Wall Street that we are moving toward nationalization of some major banks. That's not what the administration wants, but experts believe that is where we are heading – and overseas, there is a growing chorus that the sooner the better. This is a very, very tough problem for the administration.

Federal deficits – Toward the end of February, the administration will announce its budget forecasts. My bet is that the predicted deficits will be eye-popping in size and longevity. That is partly because the Obama team will introduce more truth in budgeting, showing – unlike the Bush administration – what the real costs will be of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other looming domestic initiatives. The White House clearly wants to move full steam ahead on health care reform and reform of energy policies this year – both costly. The hard political question in the country will soon be: how much more can we really afford? Is bailout fatigue going to set in, too?

Nobody knows the answers to all the questions just over the horizon. What insiders do recognize is that President Obama will need the political skills of an FDR and the tenacity of a Lincoln to help the country navigate through the storms that are coming.

Filed under: CNN Money Summit • David Gergen • Economy
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. rosm


    Many of your bloggers have come up with some good ideas.

    I especially like the one to expose BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE in Washington.

    Let the American public know whose really obstructing their path back to prosperity. And why for almost 30years American has remained on the loosing side of the road.

    EXPOSE THEM, so we can get them out, and just maybe we can get something done.

    Until then, we will never prosper. One administration will get close or put it on track (92's to 2000) and another will tear it apart(2001 to 2008).

    February 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  2. Mike, Syracuse NY

    David, I respect your commentary and analysis tremendously. You have maintained very high standards of impartiality. The one suggestion I have is that we seem to get political commentators night after night commenting on economic matters. I'd like to see CNN do a series similar to Black in America, which explores in depth what led to this economic situation. Bring in the economists to tell us, not political commentators. I'm tired of hearing how George Bush caused it all, when anyone who does a minimum of research will see that the roots of this problem go much deeper. We keep hearing about 'derugulation' but never hear specifics. What bills deregulated which industries? Who sponsored them? Who voted for and against? There are some economists who are say that 'do nothing' is the best answer in the long term. That these rescues and bailouts perpetuate the weak businesses which should be allowed to fail for a better, stronger economy in the future. We need more than 5 minute sound bites and panels commenting with a political spin instead of an economic one. Do tax cuts really hurt or help, or both or neither? I'd really like to have a detailed economic anaysis of the stimulus, and what generates jobs vs. what doesn't.

    February 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  3. Ritas

    Since Bush and Cheney fiddled while Rome burned Obama is left with the worst financial debacle in history and the dear Republicans could care less.

    February 17, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  4. Luke, Boston, MA

    Even if the stimulus bill creates or saves Obama's high estimate of 4 million jobs, that is about $230,000 PER JOB. If you just gave people the moeny we would be better off.

    This spending is all borrowed money, so in my opinion this amounts to stealing money from our sons and daughters. What right do we have to spend with borrowed money that our children will have to repay two or three times over with interest?


    February 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  5. rosm

    David here are my thoughts... Please print.

    Auto Crisis – Do a structured bankruptcy. Put Americans back to work. Urge quality and innovation. Upon completing the first phase, give backup assistance.

    Housing Crisis – what about the ones whom already lost out....
    help was too late for them. Offer something whereby, everyone who can afford it, can participate...even if they lost there homes through forclosure. Many forclosures are really due to upside down mortgages. Paid $600k, now worth 100k. Was it overrated in the first place?

    The banking crisis – order a meltdown... in order to receive funding, the banks must do zero liabitlities, and must immediately loan out what they received from us..THE US GOVERMENT.
    lOANS should not be all based on FICO and friends, who don't know what happened. Humans should loan the money on a case by case basis. BUT LOAN the money.

    Aw...the FEderal deficit....SIMPLE, get an eraser and start from scratch....recreate it...

    URGE QUALITY, BUY AMERICAN...put America back to work.
    Get out the shovels, roll up your sleeves and lets go.

    February 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  6. Sandra


    California is an example of a Liberal run state...Tax and Spend. Look for that to happen to this country. The Democrats spend like drunken sailors and when the cash flow slows, their only solution is to tax and spend some more!! They know no other way!!

    February 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  7. L Carilo, H.R. CO

    Mr. Gergen,

    My husband moved to Mexico where he is working for a living to support his family in our country of origin; these United States of America. We are very grateful for him and all his hard work, assured that he does all he can to provide for his family. But for us more “stimulus” down the road won’t be soon enough. Sure now, administration insiders believe that the package will begin to help quickly in saving jobs that might have been lost; but, so many jobs are already gone – been gone for years. Those of us living with the uncertainty of growth any time soon in the Home Building industry are already at a loss.

    The creation of new jobs — or at least those that will show up in statistics – seems like a fantasy. For us personally there are no longer unemployment benefits (they ceased when he took the job in Mexico), COBRA health insurance benefits will expire soon, taxes on my husbands earnings in Mexico will be owed both there and in the U.S., as well as the state of Colorado this April, and we won’t be able to pay any of them unless our house sells at our asking price – which seems unlikely based on its current value estimate. We feel doomed because even with a job in Mexico there is still no job security, but we are still hopeful because we have income and are not yet near bankruptcy or foreclosure. We’ve been there before and I myself cannot help but recall that terrible time and feel the same pain for people losing their jobs and homes today. I’m always praying things get a little better soon for those families, not only with the help from this stimulus plan, but with our power to persevere. God bless them, our President and our beautiful country. ~ L.C.

    February 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  8. jarrod Newark, Ohio

    My thoughts are this the plan is to save or create jobs BUT keep this in mind even if one job is not created at least the new president can say he saved how ever many jobs that are left.

    PS it is always easier and save face by saying you saved X amount of jobs than you can create

    just a thought

    February 17, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  9. charles sayles

    i have never seen more incompetence in industry than in the mortgage servicing business.JP morgan chase/wamu is the worst at responding and completing any workout programs for its borrowers.Aswell you may want to know wells fargo is not allowing wachovia to asst any of its home owners with help.option arm loans are a large part of that porfolio that came from world savings. they knew what they were buying and now we the tax payers are bailing them out and we can not get the help needed we have been promised. i would be fired if i ran a company the way they do and the are complaining about their pay and or bonuses. you got to earn it like the rest of us in america!

    February 17, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  10. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Hi, David Gergen!

    I'm Brazilian, I'm in a Go-NoGo if I will go to live in USA because of the crisis, and since then I have followed the work of AC360 to know what I expected.
    So if I deceive in something, forgiveness.

    President Obama deserves our trust in everything that represents. But he assumed the presidency, at a difficult time remaining and one of its biggest challenges is managing expectations and to avoid many frustrations.
    The crisis will worsen before improving, President Obama has said repeatedly in his speeches. But as worse? How will people's lives in this time?

    The packages are so many: one is to help the financial system, another to stimulate the economy and combat recession. There is a package specifically for the real estate market.
    I just read about PLAN N (Nationalization), but the people want is to see results, improvements and to have purchasing power, to have jobs, etc..

    I read that the complexity of the international crisis will make Obama Government acts on the basis of "trial and error."
    This means that there is no consensus among leading economists about what should be done to solve the problems in the international financial system and the American housing market?
    What do you think about this?

    I grew up in the midst of multiple economic crises. Sign in a crisis is very easy, but exit ...

    I'm wondering to myself (all the time) as a country like the USA, with so many riches and with so many competent people arrived at this point?

    Thanks ... I imagine how difficult it is in times of economic crisis, his work: it gives good news, is criticized for not seeing the reality, if say that the news is bad, takes the blame for speaking in disgrace.

    Thank you very much

    February 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  11. Marguerite

    As usual, your comments are insightful. A big 'if' to any economic accomplishments will be IF the Congress (both houses and parties) are willing to work together with the Obama administration, and IF the American people are patient.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Mishan

    After last week I am still wondering what exactly do the republicans really want for stimulus – other than tax cuts? It seems that they are against most programs that serve the people. What then are their actual ideas for saving our economy and creating jobs?

    Despite the package passing, it seems we need to discuss much further the intentions of the two sides of the aisle, because in our minds, we are beginning to see a sad and dangerous cleft in our government. Can the media help reconcile the public's image by exposing what each side really stands for?

    February 17, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  13. rosm


    Please remind everyone the President has only been in office not more than a month.

    Send to you some possible resolutions, not complaints...those should be reserved for ???

    It is like a business. If you need to grow your business, put money into it. not cut back!!!!

    Also, there is a couple of CNN programs which air between 6pm and 7pm, they are part of the fear problem. They are negative in every sense of the word. They feed upon people's fears....Stop it.

    AC360, remind them the President is not the problem...

    Ask them if cutting taxes for the unemployed is?

    Ask John McCain...part of the problem.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  14. Michael K

    Whoever wrote the quote at the bottom is leaving out something. He did NOT get refused because he not an immigrant or Minority unless he specifically applied for something only Immigrants or minorities can receive (english language training, etc).

    Most of the time when I hear these stories, they are altered enough to hide some fact that reveals the truth. The rest of the time, I do not find out the truth. In this case, he did not get what he wanted. His other issues made it about a liberal government (yes, all the conservatives are gone now) and non-white people. He needs to wake up and tend to his own business and stop trying to blame the 'different' one in his neighborhood.

    February 17th, 2009 10:04 am ET

    I am a small business in Virginia..I have been in business since 2006. I have worked two jobs to save up the money to start it. I am a Navy vet..but when I applied to get an SBA loan, was told sorry I needed to be an Immigrant or Minority to get any funding, but a illegal immigrant down the street got a home improvement grant for $15,000 in less than 2 months. Did I note Illegal? Am I mad? Yep. I bust my butt and get nothing..told I am more or less not “Politically Correct” to get assistance..

    February 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  15. Mitch

    I heard this morning about some details of the stimulus package. A tax credit (up to $5B in bill) will be given for weatherization of your home. Great idea, improve energy efficiency, create a few new jobs...

    Then the details, it must be at least a family of 4 and earn less than $42,000 per year. What family of 4 earning less than $42,000 per year would own a home? Much less have the extra cash laying around these days to pay someone to weatherize their home and then wait for a tax credit. The Republicans may get what they wanted after all, a much smaller bill. I have a feeling a lot of this money will not ever get spent because, the targeted Americans just don't exist!

    The price tag of this bill is say $1T. If they handed out checks to each household (110M households) that would be $9,000 per household! The majority of that would be spent in the local economies. The government could force it to be spent by requiring receipts for tax exemptions. Anyway, only time will tell.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  16. Larry L.

    ------–We have been fooled,thus we are fools--------–

    The debt load we are taking on will hurt future generations for decades as our currency is diminished against all other currencies of the world, making our country's exports worth far less, while making all imports (including oil and cars) far more expensive for all of us. With Social Security estimated to go negative in 2017, our country is facing bankruptsy.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  17. Jeff In Dc

    Ron Paul talked about the fradulent economic system that we live in is what truly is destroying our economy if banks will continue making money "out of thin air " We will never be free from this debt. I emplore all of you to research Jerome Daly v. First National Bank of Montgomery they wanted to forclose on his home but he beat the bank in court because their loan practices were deemed fraudulent. The case took place in Minnesota in 1969 please look it up it will open your eyes to the corrupt nature of the government.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  18. rosm

    Why is everyone so negative about the stimulus package.

    Why don't they follow Rush, Glen and the rest of the Republicans.

    Cut taxes, oh that is if you have a job.
    And do nothing....Gee isn't it what the last administration did.

    Ask the governor of California...what a mess he's got his state in..
    Cut taxes, and look the other way. Well, it caught up with him.

    Now, he even needs a bailout....what a joke.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  19. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    Hi David, always happy to read your blogs, as I know they will be knowledgeable and informative. I listen most closely to your commentating on TV; your ideas are objective yet principled, and you concisely summarize for us the big picture of what is happening at the Capitol. I agree with those who favor nationalization of the banks. At this point banks are afraid to extend loans and credit in spite of the billions of bail-out money, so it seems nationalization will be hard to avoid.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  20. Dave of Detroit

    One of the main contributors to the Recession is not only getting off scott free but is continuing its harmful policies without a word from the President, Media, or Congress. I am refering to the massive layoffs in the Auto Industry, trucking, and Airline Industries caused by out of control gasoline prices. Auto sales have not rebounded from this event because the Oil Companies have not been given the attention they deserve and continue to overcharge by as much as 50 cents a gallon on gasoline and deisel which should be selling for under $1.50 a gallon with oil at $34.00 a barrel....Obama promised to replace the windfall profits taxes on Big Oil and was going to use them to help the stimulus package costs-sounds like Bush sayiing the Iraqi's would pay for the war-The American Public needs to be reassured that the OIL companies will be under Congressional oversight and the loopholes in the Commodities Market will be fixed to prevent a reoccurrance of a National Disaster!!!!!

    February 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  21. Jerrold Rusk

    Dear David,
    I largely agree with your assessment of the future economic problems facing President Obama. What many people don't realize is that, if Obama fails, the country fails. As a political science professor for over 30 years, I appreciate the intelligent, deliberative, and rational way you and Jeff Tobin analyze things and make comments. Unfortunately, I fail to see that objective and intelligent approach displayed by others on CNN, such as Lou Dobbs, John King, Jack Cafferty, and Campbell Brown. Nit-picking, unsound criticism, microscopic analysis, etc. by CNN and others on cable tv only spread a negative psychology to Americans, and might lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy partly created by the media. There need to be more people like you and Tobin on cable tv. Keep up the good work!

    February 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  22. Sandra

    Too much pork in the "Stimulus" Plan. Too bad they can't write a bill that only addresses the subject. Spending Billions of dollars isn't going to fix this mess. They need to stimulate the economy by allowing businesses to grow and hire people, not tax the living life out of them so they move out of the country!!! Why do you think we call India for technical support?

    February 17, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  23. RJ

    You want to get the nation moving again ? Stop the practice of business as usual! Why not stop the oil companies from taking money out of our pockets, by raising the price at the pump the day prices increase and taking weeks to drop the price when it falls ! Stop the banks from charging us a fee for using the ATM to get our money out from one bank and then another fee from our own bank, when they both use the same system ! Stop insurance companies from charging one fee in one neighborhood and two streets over more ! Make the oil companies pay the royalties fees from pumping oil out of govenment land ! Give us saving incentives by allowing tax deductions for the money we save, allowing more money to be invested ! No, it doesn't take rocket science to see the rich are for the rich !!!!

    February 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  24. Marty R

    Reality check people. I listened to some interesting comments that were made at the detroit auto show. With the big three auto makers struggling to stay alive being acussed of making vehicles that nobody wants yet it seems that all vehicle manufacturers are sufferinfg similar fates. The comments centered around the fact that with our fuel prices being so much lower than that of europe what is the incentive for people to go out and buy a fuel efficient vehicle when gas here is dirt cheap. With so much talk about how american tax payers are going to pay for a nearly trillion dollar stimulus package i offer this thought. With roughly 250 million registed vehicles on the road using an average of lets just say 200.00 a month in fuel a 15% increase in fuel tax each year for the next four years would still make our fuel cheaper than that of our europen friends, but would add nearly 500 billion dollars to the cause of paying for this stimulus package. Maybe even create some demand for fuel efficient vehicles and inject money into further greener product development. Not to mention the fact that 500 billion could go a long way to stimulate other sectors of the economey and employ hundreds of thousands of individuals. Now I know some critics will say how can people afford another 30 bucks a month in fuel when times are already tough but is that to much to pay if it means you will still have a job next month and not be worried about the prospect of being laid off? Just a thought from a Canadian friend.

    February 17, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  25. Frank Almendarez

    If gas prices continue to go up they will take back the increase in the working peoples paycheck they are suppose see in June.

    1.51 a gallon one month ago
    1.91 a gallon today that is a 20% increase, if it is costing some working people about $50 a week to go to work, then it has already costed them $10 more per week to get to work........!!!! it does not take a "Rocket Scientist" to figure this out........!!!!!!!

    February 17, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  26. John P

    The main problems with government forcing mortgage rates to artificially low levels, (e.g., 1% proposed by Dave), are:
    (1) It would indeed artificially inflate housing prices, which are already far above normal, sustainable levels relative to incomes (see, e.g., Case-Shiller data). This fundamentally unsustainable condition is key driver of the present crisis and such government intervention would only exacerbate it.
    (2) Those who buy at the artificially low rate, and correspondingly inflated price, will find themselves with little or negative equity ("underwater") when interest rates get back to normal and prices decline correspondingly.
    (3) Any such artificially low rate is ultimately being paid for by the taxpayers. If this rate were available also for refinancing of existing homes, it would have the effect of transferring tens of billions of dollars over decades from the poorest among us, who generally rent, to the richest, who own. Economically misguided and morally reprehensible.

    February 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  27. John P

    The main problems with government forcing mortgage rates to artificially low levels, (e.g., 1% proposed by Dave), are:
    (1) It would indeed artificially inflate housing prices, which are already far above normal, sustainable levels relative to incomes (see, e.g., Case-Shiller data). This fundamentally unsustainable condition is key driver of the present crisis and such government intervention would only exacerbate it.
    (2) Those who buy at the artificially low rate, and correspondingly inflated price, will find themselves with little or negative equity ("underwater") when interest rates get back to normal and prices decline correspondingly.
    (3) Any such artificially low rate is ultimately being paid for by the taxpayers. If this rate were available also for refinancing of existing homes, it would have the effect of transferring tens of billions of dollars over decades from the poorest among us, who generally rent, to the richest, who own. Economically misguided and morally reprehensible.

    February 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  28. O,NYC

    LET ME SAY THIS: Remember when Bush said to put social security into the stock market what a joke. After 8 yrs. of the rich getting tax cuts now look at this mess Bush has left us in. With homes, jobs ect. republicans sat on their hands and confused the public for a long time that things are great. Now they are out of power and cry for some bi-partisanship give me a brake. This bill will not fix everything but at least it shows something is being done and I tip my hat to the only 3 republican senators that voted for the bill they had enough common sense to know this is not to the time to play politics.

    February 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  29. mark herbig

    I am stupified, in this age of oil dependency,regarding simple things the gov't might do to ease the pain of oil shortage.
    Why doesn't the gov't either demand from oil conglomerants:Exxon Mobil etc to begin immidiately building HUGE oil storage tank batterys throughout the US ?Lets build up the quantities of oil taken from our native soils and stockpile it.into the "megabarrels" In time the stockpiles will fill to capacity and eliminate any reliance on foreign quantities.
    Have the govt spend billions on its own storage facilities here in the states and put people to work.Put the bailout money"our money" where ,in time, it can do a world of good.Billions of barrels of oil ,on hand , that could be refined with existing refineries, as demand takes it .????

    February 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  30. Mike in Va

    To CNN......PLEASE Investigate why I have to jump thru hoops for "Loans/Grants" from SBA and other departments and banks who are suppose to be working with SBA....just to tell me after miles of red tape...NO! only immigrants and minorities.

    Obama said he would help small business...no question.

    He did not state only a "select few".....as I noted I want work not handouts like Big Business who gets "blank Checks for BIllions" within a phonecall...let alone the five months I waited to be only told no....they would have saved me time and money by stating we only give it to only TWO types of status....The one guy told me the USA wants immigrants to get a chance at the "american dream"..where is my dream? I only asked for $159,000...not $100 billion. Is there any hopes and dreams for us? I am about to have my lights turned off, and car taken away..no kiddin...like in 8 days.. I am a single parent too..I am over this double standard.

    February 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  31. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    David what amazes me is that most of the comments out here are dealing with this crisis as if it's some unique INTERNAL American problem. This is true only in the sense that we had government 'leaders' over the last eight years that concockted one the most horendous Ponzi Scheme scams of all time. Namely get American to spend their savings and the equity in their assets (namely homes) to by cheap COMMUNIST Chinese and other foreign goods whilt their very livlihoods were being undermined with winks and nods and outright incdentives from the Federal government to have private industry outsourse our industrial infrastructure and with it those high paying jobs it produces to the Government Sanctioned Slave Labor colonies of COMMUNIST China and SOCIALIST India. the net result was that entire life savings were spent and equity in assets was disolved without any way of Americans replacing them with High Paying Income fo the Jobs that were sent overseas.

    This my friends is the cruelest joke that neo-con Republican Greed mongers have ever played on the American People for mere short term profit. Not only has it nearly destroyed the American Middle Class which is the Mainstay of Stability and the engine of economic growth in our Nation but it has nearly destroyed our very Democracy.

    This stimulous bill is most certainly a beginning step in the CORRECT Direction but our new President and Congessional Leaders must now propose longer term solutions which will re-establish our industrial base and provide those High Paying jobs that our Industrial base produces to stabilize and re-grow the American Middle Class ! Made in U.S.A. must become a major National Battle Cry for every Patriotic American in dead as well as word and our National Government must openly spearhead this effort with cash and tax incentives to those that compy and with tax penalties and criminal penalties for those that DON'T !

    February 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  32. Joe G. (From Illinois)

    Once you are lucky enough to discover that you have got a bubble in the system.. And once you are lucky enough to have it kindly bursts in your face.. You let the system touch bottom; find its true self; and allow it go back up again “Is it so deserves!!!” OBAMA’S LOGIC SAYS “NOT SO.” It seems to me that he's fantasizing while awake about bringing the standards of living back up to those of the Live Housing Bubble era.

    February 17, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  33. David Burnett

    The auto crisis:
    The car industry has known for years that we the people would like to see cars move away from foreign oil consumption. In fact GM has been very involved in stifling the electric car movement. See "Who killed the electric car on DVD.
    So now they want to use our money to bail them out when all along they could have made the transition a few years back that would have made the sales they needed to keep in good financial standings.

    I say we give our money to "Shai Agassi" of "Better Place" who is converting Denmark and Israel to electric cars. We need to let these idiots be victims of there own doing.

    David Burnett
    Albuquerque, NM

    February 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  34. Dave

    The solution is to fix the problem that started it all – housing. If the government would provide (or guarantee) 1%, 30 year, fixed rate mortgates, housing pricing would escalate. No more toxic assets, no more foreclosures.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  35. margaret

    This is very important. We need to stop bickering and get with it. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave, We've got to stop fighting each other and do what we can for America. A lot of poor souls here and even around the globe are counting on us.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  36. margaret

    Hey this is very important. Today President Obama is giving a major announcement. Our lives could change forever, It's time to get on the Obama bandwagon. We had a Bridge to Nowhere. Let's hope this isn't the Train to Nowhere.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  37. Jim Walling

    I would prefer that the 535 Congressmen stop spending our money on something they HOPE will stimulate the economy and let 300 million Americans decide for themselves on how to spend their money. The inovations of 300 million Americans will trump 535 Congressmen.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  38. Every Wilson

    I think we should stop all givaway programs no matter the merit. Scholarships, school student loans, car loans, home loans, small business loans, corporate loans, federal loans, grants of all sorts, tax shelters, income tax refunds, food stamp assistance, unemployment, and welfare. All these are some sort of giveaway to assist americans, who are in some sort of need or to give back to the tax payer. Where is the justice? All the above listed giveaways have a class justification, where one is judged more moral than the other. When, in fact we should not expect anything? We should work and buy what we can afford or save to be able to afford it. We should not expect any income tax return, or assistance. If we do not work we should not eat! Now for those who endorse one givaway over another this would settle the debate! But, woe to them if they are unemployed, foreclosed upon, business shut down, can't afford college, can't afford to pay cash for a a car, can't afford to pay cash for a home, can't afford to start up a business, can't afford to buy goceries or pay the electric bill! STOP THE CLASS BASED RACIS CRAZINESS!

    February 17, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  39. dawnielle

    this stimulus plan is a bandaid not what's going to fix the problem. Greed is the reason we are in this situation. Business is no longer conducted with integrity and honesty, it's about making the most money at whatever the cost. Not only that, but it doesn't seen like people are being held accountable for their mistakes. Allow these corporations to suffer the consiquences of their actions. We will all suffer for a while no matter what but no amount of money is going to force change in the way people think or the way business is done in this country.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  40. Chris

    I just recently became a US Citizen, I have been in the US for 20 years. I really wanted to vote for Change. No Ch-ch-ch-change but Change. The republicans and President Bush has driven our economy into the ground. That is fact! they have had their chance and on their watch they let the Amercian Economy fall into a depression. They had no solutions, they have waisted 340 Billion of the tax payers money on the first part of the Tarp. No accountability no insurance just a hand out to the banks and Wall Street. Courtesy of the Republicans and George Bush. How is Obama's stimulus plan not going to work when there is not other alternative. At least someone is trying to make something happen. The Republicans have had their chance, for 8 years they have corrupted and crashed the US Economy. Time for change is Now.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  41. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    The secret to the stimulus is how greed will ruin the plan by everyone taking the money and pigeon-holing instead of spending. I think the bank reregulation should have happened first!!!

    February 17, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  42. Just Me

    About welfare...for every person that abuses the system, there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who use it as designed. I came from a poor enough family that we were on food assistance. Both my parents worked. My father was a HS teacher.

    Do people abuse the system? Yes, but people also abuse the tax system (corporate welfare and tax shelters), spend their student loan money (which we do subsidize to keep interest rates low) unwisely, flunk college courses paid for with grants funded by our tax dollars, drive overweight vehicles on (and thereby ruin) the roads that our tax dollars pay for....

    Should we get rid of all of these because of a few bad apples? Seems a bit extreme to me...

    February 17, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  43. RJ, CA

    Spencer Akins February 17th, 2009 9:58 am ET
    Why is the news media just now asking these questions or making comments about the so called stimulus?
    Because the media has no clue when they smell smoke. They only know how to scream "Fire!" when their nose is burning!

    Rush is right - they've become nothing more but a "drive-by" media!

    February 17, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  44. kenneth sunday


    February 17, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  45. Amanda, South Africa

    David it just seems as if there is a systemic problem here and it is not being addressed. And no, the credit crunch is not the systemic problem – in fact it is the symptom of a deeper problem. The truth is that the American dream is no longer a reality in the modern global world. There was a period of prosperity some decades ago when a house, a car and a picket fence was potentially possible for all, but that no longer applies. So much of the stimulus package seems to be designed to maintain a vision, initiatives and industries for that are no longer viable and one has to wonder how much money will disappear into a black hole before this fact becomes obvious.

    During the election I often wondered at the promises made by most of the candidates to restore jobs in fore example, the motor industry when it should be obvious that in terms of “making things” no western nation can now continue to compete with the east. New and innovative kinds of industries and thinking in terms of growing jobs are required.

    Some governments in the east are already shifting spending towards growing capability in healthcare delivery, research and development and other intangible sectors. This is an area where America can and should take the lead. Western nations can still be very competitive and continue to grow jobs if they move much more focus to the knowledge economy. And this is where spending will be most productive.

    February 17, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  46. Mike in Va

    Not to bring welfare into this....but local media here did a news story back two years ago about a welfare recipent who had a strech limo pick her and her two kids up, drop them at daycare and then to work. The afternoon, same thing, stop at the store,ect. A STRECH LIMO...paid by ....you guessed it...us the tax payer thru social services.

    I had my car break down when the engine blew up, I went and asked if I could get a strech limo too...nope! Take the bus!

    After the local news aired the story...the local social services office stopped the service and went to local taxi cabs.......Look it up in back history at wavy.com...Hampton Roads Local NBC network.

    February 17, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  47. marissa

    why are we giving our tax dollars to these corporations, who clearly have no idea how to use it. here is my theory, there are @ 300million LEGAL american citizens..give every LEGAL american citizen 1 million dolars. people will spend, people will save.everyone will be happy. .I also believe we need to take a good look at our welfare system..it makes me sick. my tax dollars are paying for lazy people to sit on there butts have more kids. the welfare system is supposed to help peolpe get back on there feet, then tell me why someone already on welfare has another child..it does not make sense. meanwhile i'm a middleclass working woman and my tax dollars pay for all these children born on welfare..thats just to start

    February 17, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  48. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    President managed his way successfully through his first storm but he and his team recognize there are darker, more treacherous ones ahead--and the perfect storm is yet to appear--good luck.

    February 17, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  49. Mike in Va

    I am a small business in Virginia..I have been in business since 2006. I have worked two jobs to save up the money to start it. I am a Navy vet..but when I applied to get an SBA loan, was told sorry I needed to be an Immigrant or Minority to get any funding, but a illegal immigrant down the street got a home improvement grant for $15,000 in less than 2 months. Did I note Illegal? Am I mad? Yep. I bust my butt and get nothing..told I am more or less not "Politically Correct" to get assistance..

    They didn't say that when I was in the navy serving my country! Nor did they say that when I worked for the state of Virignia rescuing citizens off the Freeways for six years. My company lost two contacts that have all but killed us off due to this crisis. Last year we helped in the community paying rent and heating bills for residents hit hard by this, we even gave away two cars to needy families..now I need help! Not some handout like the CEO's getting millions of our money...but work would be nice before I am living under an underpass of a freeway!

    February 17, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  50. Spencer Akins

    Why is the news media just now asking these questions or making comments about the so called stimulus?

    February 17, 2009 at 9:58 am |
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