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Obama confronts ‘crisis’ with $447 billion plan

US President Barack Obama has challenged Congress to enact a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new spending to revive a stalled job market.

Written by Reuters | Washington |
September 10, 2011 1:02:53 am

US President Barack Obama has challenged Congress to enact a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new spending to revive a stalled job market but he faces an uphill fight to win over Republicans and restore public faith in his economic stewardship.

With his poll numbers at new lows amid frustration with 9.1 per cent unemployment,Obama called for urgent action on a broad set of proposals he laid out just 14 months before voters decide whether to give him a second term. You should pass this jobs plan right away,he said in a forceful,impassioned tone in the televised speech to a rare joint session of Congress.

The question is whether,in the face of an ongoing national crisis,we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy,Obama said,taking a swipe at Republicans who have consistently opposed his initiatives.

Obama,who pushed through an $800 billion economic stimulus package in 2009,said his new plan would cut taxes for workers and businesses and put more construction workers and teachers on the job through infrastructure projects.

As fears rise of another US recession and more global economic gloom,G7 finance ministers meeting in France on Friday are set to encourage countries that can afford it to do more for growth. US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that efforts to create US jobs could help the world economy regain speed.

Estimates from several economists showed that Obama’s jobs package,if passed,could lift US economic growth by 1 to 3 percentage points in 2012,add some 1 million jobs and lower the unemployment rate by about half a percentage point.

This struck me as a pretty well-balanced plan. It’s got something for everybody,said Omer Esiner,senior market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington. Bipartisan cooperation could be hard to come by in Washington’s climate of political dysfunction where a bruising debt feud this summer brought the country to the brink of default and led to an unprecedented US credit downgrade.

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