PETER BAKER and JOHN M. BRODER
Sunday, Dec 07, 2008
President-elect Barack Obama promised Saturday to create the largest public works construction program since the inception of the interstate highway system a half century ago as he seeks to put together a plan to resuscitate the reeling economy.
With jobs evaporating and the recession deepening, Mr. Obama began highlighting elements of the economic recovery program he is trying to fashion with Congressional leaders in hopes of being able to enact it shortly after being sworn in on Jan. 20. His address on Saturday followed the report on Friday indicating that the country lost 533,000 jobs in November alone, bringing the total number of jobs lost over the past year to nearly 2 million.
Mr. Obama’s remarks showcased his ambition to expand the definition of traditional work programs for the middle class, like infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, to include new-era jobs in technology and so-called green jobs that reduce energy use and global warming emissions. “We need action — and action now,” Mr. Obama said in an address broadcast Saturday morning on radio and YouTube.
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Mr. Obama’s plan, if enacted, would be in part a government-directed industrial policy, with lawmakers and administration officials picking winners and losers among private projects and raining large amounts of taxpayer money on them.
It would cover a range of programs to expand broadband Internet access, to make government buildings more energy efficient, to improve information technology at hospitals and doctors’ offices, and to upgrade computers in schools.
This article was posted: Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 6:23 am