Obama names economic team, stresses job creation

Obama called on the next Congress to act quickly in passing a costly stimulus package to bolster the economy.

obama finance 88 248 (photo credit: )
obama finance 88 248
(photo credit: )
President-elect Barack Obama named his economic team Monday, tapping New York Federal Reserve President Tim Geithner as treasury secretary to deal with what he said was as an economic crisis of historic proportions. Obama called on the next Congress to act quickly in passing a costly stimulus package to create jobs to bolster the wider economy in addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars the Bush administration has committed to rescue financial markets. "The economy is likely to get worse before it gets better," Obama said in a downbeat forecast, delivered 57 days before he takes the oath of office and with Americans heading into the year-end holiday season. "Most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year," Obama said, as he urged the new Congress to move swiftly when it opens on January 6. Over the weekend, Obama ordered his team to work on a program to create or save 2.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. At a news conference, Obama was critical of the country's top three automakers, saying he was surprised they did not have a better-thought-out plan for their future before asking Congress last week to approve $25 billion in emergency loans. He said once he sees a plan, he expects "we're going to be able to shape a rescue." Obama declined to say how large a stimulus package he wants from Congress. Democratic lawmakers speculated over the weekend that the price tag could reach $700b. over two years as the nation struggles to emerge from a recession compounded by a credit crunch. "It's going to be costly," the president-elect said. The next president also named Lawrence Summers as director of his National Economic Council. Summers was treasury secretary under former president Bill Clinton and a former president of Harvard University. In announcing his choices, Obama said recent news "has made it even more clear that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions" that demanded the "sound judgment and fresh thinking" he said his new team would bring to economic difficulties as great as any since the Great Depression in the 1930s. But he expressed confidence the nation would weather the crisis "because we've done it before." Obama pledged to honor the commitments the outgoing Bush administration has made to rescue financial markets. Kicking off the Thanksgiving holiday week in the United States, Obama also announced two other members of his economic team in the making: Christina Romer as chair of his Council of Economic Advisers, and Melody Barnes as director of his White House Domestic Policy Council.