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Obama's Op-ed

February 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

With public approval at around 37 percent, President Obama took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post this morning to sell his stimulus proposal to the American people:

>Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.
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>That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.
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>This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it’s a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

Addressing the critics…

>In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.
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>I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change.

As Obama tries to win the public’s support, the Senate is also working to find a consensus in the bill that will get it 60 votes for final passage. Last night, they vote to add two sweeteners for moderates from both parties – $18.5 billion in homeowner tax credits and an amendment weakening the “”http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/05/us/politics/05trade.html?partner=rss&emc=rss">Buy America" provision. The Senate may also be voting later today on an amendment to cut $100 billion or so in “non-stimulative” spending items.

UPDATE: No amendment introduced yet, but a group of centrist senators have begun circulating a discussion document that recommends cutting $77.9 billion of spending from the stimulus. package.

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