Much-needed remedy

Published 8:22 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2009

By Staff
President-elect Barack Obama is showing he has got his finger on the pulse of the nation’s economy, a pulse that is weakening.
On Monday, Obama said the nation’s economy is worsening and that the American people want something done to make it better — now. He’s right. Americans want the economy to again be robust, allowing them to splurge when they feel the urge.
Obama was on Capitol Hill on Monday, talking with members of Congress about an economic-stimulus plan. Obama said he went to Capitol Hill before his inauguration Jan. 20 because “the people’s business cannot wait.”
It looks like Obama is showing another sign of being a man of action rather than reaction. That could prove beneficial to the nation.
Of course, Obama cannot cure the nation’s economic woes by himself. He is going to require some assistance. He expects to receive it.
The president-elect expects quick approval of financial-rescue legislation by the new Congress. Obama said he expects to sign such legislation shortly after taking office, sometime late this month or in early February.
The first black president’s economic-stimulus proposal includes tax cuts up to $300 billion. The plan includes $500 tax cuts for most employees and $1,000 for couples, not to mention $100 billion for businesses. The stimulus package, which calls for new federal spending to help the ailing economy, could end up with a cost of $800 billion.
In his meeting with House and Senate leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the president-elect set a tone of urgency dealing with the nation’s worsening economy, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The proposed tax cuts for individuals and couples would be similar to the rebate checks sent out last year by Congress and the Bush administration to boost the slowing economy. A major difference this time around is that the tax cuts could be awarded through withholding less from worker paychecks. That provision would cost about $140-150 billion over two years, according to an AP report.
Obama’s actions indicate he is going to hit the ground running when he takes office in a little less than two weeks. With the way the economy is going, the sooner Obama and his administration begin working on the problem, the sooner its stands a chance of being solved.
For that to happen, Congress must do its part.
Pelosi, for her part and to her credit, seems ready to help Obama turn a sick economy into a robust one.
When she met Obama on Monday, Pelosi said: ‘‘It is a great honor and personal privilege to welcome you to this office. Tomorrow we will swear in a new Congress and we will hit the ground running on the initiatives … to ease the pain being felt by the American people.’’
With Obama taking the initiative to work on the ailing economy before he takes office and a Congress that appears eager to help Americans recover from their economic woes, a prescription to cure the sick economy should be ready to be filled by no later than early February.
It will be a much-needed remedy, one the American people deserve.