Notes From Obama’s Second Press Conference.

11/24/2008 04:19:00 PM

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2008_11_24_obamamoneyteamSo Obama had his second press conference today in which he announced his new economic team, which I will address later.  But lets take a look at some of the questions that he was asked and his subsequent answers, or avoidance, or minimizing, or lack there of or, my personal favorite, changing the subject.  Pick one.

The first question deals with this proposed stimulus package that Obama’s team is going to share with Congress.  One of the most important questions that is on everyone’s mind is where is this money going to come from.  And in usual Obama style, it’s not answered.

He also only took six whole questions during the Q&A session after his announcement.  And shut out reporters from the major TV networks and cable stations. The only outlets that Obama took question from were:

The Associated Press
Bloomberg News
The Wall Street Journal
USA Today
The Washington Post

Now, on with the smoke and mirrors show.

Q: [From the Associated Press]  What are the details on your proposed stimulus package:  how much it’s going to cost, where the money’s going to come from, and when do you want to see it enacted?

A:  I want to see it enacted right away.  It is going to be of a size and scope that is necessary to get this economy back on track. 

I don’t want to get into numbers right now. Part of the task of this economic team behind me is to help to shape the details of that plan in consultation with Congress, the Federal Reserve and businesses and thinkers across the country.

But I think the most important thing to recognize is that we have a consensus, which is pretty rare, between conservative economists and liberal economists [how many times have I heard that in the past week from Obama?], that we need a big stimulus package that will jolt the economy back into shape and that is focused on the 2.5 million jobs that I intend to create during the first part of my administration.  [BTW, I have a feeling this 2.5 million job creation is going to be of government jobs, or jobs with Obama’s new “corps” program.  How else can anyone create that many new jobs at one time?  Historically in a recession/depression, and during cutbacks, the only industry that is hiring is government.  Time will tell, yes?]  We have to put people back to work.

Now, that runs in parallel with making sure that our financial system is stable, and so we’re going to have to do more than one thing at a time.  But across the board, people believe that the stimulus is critical, and the first job of my economic team is to shape that economic stimulus package so that it is delivering on the 2.5 million jobs that we talked about and is also providing a down payment on long-term strategies we need in terms of making this economic work for all Americans.

That means we have to invest in clean energy.  We’re going to have to invest in the systems in our – in health care that can reduce costs for families and for businesses.  It means that we’re going to have to invest in the education system to ensure that we’re competitive over the 21st century.  So, not only do I want the stimulus package to deal with the immediate crisis, I want it also to lay the groundwork for long-term sustained economic growth.

So did anyone see the answer to where this money is going to come from? *crickets*

Q:  [Reuters] Mr. President-elect, I’d like to ask a follow-up on the size of the stimulus package.  Senator Schumer said yesterday up to 700 billion was needed.  Today investor Barton Biggs said as much as 1 trillion.  Could you give taxpayers a range of the figure that you’re thinking of?

A:  I’m not going to – I’m not going to discuss numbers right now, Kim, because I think it’s important for my economic team to come back with a recommendation.  But what I want to emphasize is that there is a consensus among – across the political spectrum that we need a stimulus. […]

Now, it’s going to be costly, and one of the things that we know already is that even if we did nothing further for the remainder of this year, that we’re going to see a substantial deficit next year, bigger than we’ve seen in a very long time.  [Thanks AIG, and especially if the Big 3 are bailed out.]

The right answer is that we have to first focus on getting the economy back on track.  We’ve got to first focus on making sure that we’re creating those 2.5 million jobs.  We’ve got to make sure that the investments are made to sustain economic growth over the long term.


Hmm… again, total avoidance and refocusing on the fact, which is an obvious no brainer fact, that something needs to be done.  And again, refocusing on the 2.5 million jobs that Obama wants.  And an interesting note.  How to change an economy.  First you need an idea, which Obama has.  Second you need workers, which people need jobs because of the failing economy.  But how do you get people to work for an idea that you may not agree with?  By making the only jobs available with your new “plan” of “change”.  If you want a job, then you need to “come on board the Kool-Aid” ship.  And yes, I am being harsh.  I’ll be the first to admit it.  I don’t trust this man at all.  And yes, I think he’s going to try to change our entire country, and focus more towards a socialist society.  Between his “America Serves” which is back on Obama’s website, although worded just a wee bit differently than originally (and I will address the changes later today in a post) which is a violation of the 13th Amendment, between “sharing the wealth”, and between focusing on going “green” and trying to “get along” with certain ethnic groups and religions, I feel I will be sitting around a campfire, wearing a uniform of the Obama bots, singing “Kumbaya”, giving thanks to Obama, and drinking Kool-Aid.

Perhaps I’m paranoid, so be it.  But as I have said, and I continue to say, time will tell won’t it?

And one final thing to remember, is Joe Biden’s speech that he gave in Seattle, on October 21, 2008.  And it’s part of Biden’s “Mark my words” speech, but it’s not so much of the “Mark my words” part, it’s what he says afterwards.

“And he’s gonna need help.  And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you, not financially to help him, we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him.  Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”

But let’s move on, shall we?

Q:  Thank you, Mr. President-elect.  The current administration has been criticized in some quarters for taking an ad hoc approach to financial rescues.  Can you describe how your new teams’ approach might differ from the approach that we’ve had for the last year?

A:  Well, I don’t want to look backwards.  […]  [Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.]

But what I want to make sure is that moving forward we are clearly articulating for the American people and the business community what our end goals are – where are we going, what are we trying to achieve?  -- and that there’s clarity and transparency to our plan.  […] 

[I’m sorry, but I can see no transparency between all the smoke and mirrors.

So like a trip, we know we are leaving on a trip, and we know what the destination is however, how are we getting there?  Are we driving a car?  Are we flying?  Are we taking a bus?  Are we walking?  And what route are we going to be taking?  Sorry, that’s not transparency.  That’s signing up for a trip, without asking for the price, asking what mode of transportation one is taking. How long it’s going to take to get there.  What route one is taking.  I think you get my point.  Would you sign up for a trip say to the Caribbean, not knowing how much it costs, how you are going to get there, what route you are taking, but just simply knowing that once the trip is over, you are going to be in the Caribbean.

And what about a contingency plan?  What if this doesn’t work?  As a comparison, with our little trip that we don’t know what the price is, how long its going to take to get there, etc.  but let say you show up the day of the trip and you know you are taking a boat.  What happens if the boat begins to sink on the way there?  Even the passengers of the Titanic, which had a few lifeboats but not as many as it was suppose to have for “decorative” purposes, thought they were on an unsinkable ship.  And when it began to sink, there weren’t enough lifeboats, leading to one of the most tragic accidents and loss of life in history.]

At this point, I’ve heard Obama talk about the environment as a top priority.  Him talk about the bailout of the Big 3 as a top priority.  A stimulus package as a top priority.  Talk about changing 200 of Bush’s plans in the first days of office.  So which is most important?  And is talk cheap, and actions speak louder than words. 

Because honestly, after Christmas, historically, there are always layoffs and this upcoming year will be no different, other than there will be a dramatic increase in layoffs.  And the Big 3 are going to go down, even if we bail them out, unless they change the way they are doing business.  More people are going to lose their homes, whether they own or rent.  More banks are going to fall.  Example, Citi.  A month or so ago, they were going to buy out WaMu and Wells Fargo stepped in.  So if a month or so ago they had the money to buy WaMu, what happened to all that money?  And what would be happening today if Citi would have bought WaMu?  It just goes to show how fast a company can fall.

Sometimes when you are injured, you have to fall down, rest, give yourself time to heal before you can get back up again.  And unfortunately that is what Obama and everyone else needs to realize.

Oh and BTW, Obama is probably going to delay tax cuts.  SURPRISE!  I wouldn’t be surprised to see any tax cuts until 2010 when Bush’s tax cuts are due to expire….

If you wish to read the transcript of the  press conference with Q&A check out the Sun Times.  Or you can watch it below.

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