Obama, Democrats plan $500 billion economic package

President-elect Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are laying the groundwork for quick enactment in January of a giant, two-year economic rescue package that will total about a half-trillion dollars. His economic team in place, Obama has tasked his aides with assembling an ambitious measure to pump money swiftly into the battered economy, but also create 2.5 million new jobs, send a tax cut to the poor and middle class, and make massive government investments in energy-saving and other technologies designed to pay for themselves in the long run. Some senior Democratic lawmakers put the cost of the package as high as $700 billion, a figure Obama's team calls premature and several Democratic aides said was unlikely. One top Democratic congressional official, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks on the economic rescue measure are ongoing, said it will probably cost between $400 billion and $500 billion over two years.