8 Mar : US President Barack Obama has assured Americans that he will bring "all the pillars in place" this year for speedy economic recovery of the nation and asked people to allay their fears about future.
"I don’t think that people should be fearful about our future. I don’t think that people should suddenly mistrust all of our financial institutions," Obama said.However, he could not assure Americans on whether economy will begin growing again this year and urge Americans not to "stuff their money in their mattresses".
In an interview published in the New York Times on Sunday, Obama indicated that the end was not in sight when it came to the economic crisis and suggested that he expected it could take another USD 750 billion to address the problem of weak and failing financial institutions beyond the USD 700 billion already approved.
As he pressed forward with ambitious plans at home to rewrite the tax code, expand health care and curb climate change, Obama dismissed criticism from conservatives that he was driving the country toward socialism, the paper said.
After the interview, Obama called reporters from the Oval office to assert his actions have been "entirely consistent with free-market principles" and pointed out that large-scale government intervention in markets and expansion of social welfare programmes began under President Bush.
"I wish I had the luxury of just dealing with a modest recession or dealing with health care or with energy or Iraq or Afghanistan," Obama said adding that "I don’t have that luxury, and I don’t think the American people do, either."
The budget plan he released last month included a placeholder estimate of USD 250 billion for additional bank bailouts an amount that represents the projected long-term cost to taxpayers of a USD 750 billion infusion into the financial sector.
Obama indicated that those figures were what he was likely to seek from Congress. "We have no reason to revise that estimate."
Addressing the fear and uncertainty among Americans as job losses mount and stock markets sink, Obama urged Americans to "be prudent" in their personal financial decisions, but not to hunker down so much that it would further slow the recovery.
"What I don’t think people should do is suddenly stuff money in their mattresses and pull back completely from spending," he said.
Still, the paper said, he avoided guessing when the situation might begin to turn around.
"Our belief and expectation is that we will get all the pillars in place for recovery this year. How long it will take before recovery actually translates into stronger job markets and so forth is going to depend on a whole range of factors," Obama said.
He added that "part of what you’re seeing now is weaknesses in Europe that are actually greater than some weaknesses here, bouncing back and having an impact on our markets."
Obama’s uncertain forecast about when the economy will begin to rebound contrasted with the projections embedded in the budget he recently released, the paper noted.
That plan, the paper said, rested on the assumption that the economy would shrink by 1.2 per cent this year, a projection that many economists, including some in his administration, consider overly optimistic because it implies the economy would bounce back in the second half of this year.