Economic crisis needs coordinated global response: Obama

November 15th, 2008 - 7:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 15 (DPA) The current economic crisis may have presented several challenges, but it also presents the US with the opportunity to fix long-term problems, President-elect Barack Obama said in a radio address Saturday.He was not attending the G20 summit but said he was glad President George W. Bush had initiated the process “because our global economic crisis requires a coordinated global response”.

In the Democratic Party’s traditional weekly radio address, Obama spoke of the need to address the widening economic crisis in the US, where just this week unemployment insurance claims rose to their highest levels since Sep 11, 2001. In the last 10 months, nearly 1.2 million jobs have been lost, many of them in the auto industry.

“Make no mistake: This is the greatest economic challenge of our times,” Obama said. “And while the road ahead will be long, and the work will be hard, I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis ­ because here in America we always rise to the moment, no matter how hard.”

He urged Congress to pass a “down payment” on a rescue plan, which will create jobs and assist more than a million Americans who will have exhausted their unemployment insurance by year-end. If Congress doesn’t pass an immediate plan to boost the economy, Obama said he would make it his first order of business as president.

As the US digs itself out of a recession “we must also recognise that out of this economic crisis comes an opportunity to create new jobs, strengthen our middle class, and keep our economy competitive in the 21st century,” Obama said.

Among long-neglected investments, he cited rebuilding roads, bridges, schools; investing $150 billion to create a green energy economy; making healthcare affordable.

“If this financial crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people,” Obama said.

For the first time, the radio address was also video-recorded and released on YouTube, something that will continue when Obama is in the White House.

“This is just one of many ways that President-elect Obama will communicate directly with the American people and make the White House and the political process more transparent,” said his transition team.

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