With the economy in crisis, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama Monday unveiled his economic team pick to shore up financial markets and tackle the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in 1930s.
NOMINATIONS OF ECONOMIC VETERANS
Timothy Geithner, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will become secretary of the treasury, and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers will be head of the National Economic Council.
Meanwhile, Obama also named University of California at Berkeley economist Christina Romer as the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
President-elect Barack Obama smiles during a meeting in his transition office in Chicago, Nov. 17, 2008.
At a news conference in Chicago, Obama said his newly minted economic aides offered "sound judgment and fresh thinking" at a time of economic crisis.
"Vice President-elect (Joseph) Biden and I have assembled an economic team with the vision and expertise to stabilize our economy, create jobs, and get America back on track," Obama said.
Former Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers gestures as he attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos Jan. 26, 2008.
"Even as we face great economic challenges, we know that great opportunity is at hand -- if we act swiftly and boldly. That's the mission our economic team will take on," he added.
Geithner, 47, is the current president of the New York Federal Reserve. He was born in New York. He attended Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner testifies at the U.S. House Financial Services Committee in this July 24, 2008 file photo.
Geithner has studied Japanese and Chinese and has lived in Zimbabwe, India, Thailand, Japan and China.
"With stellar performances and outstanding results at every stage of his career, Tim (Geithner) has earned the confidence and respect of business, financial and community leaders, members of Congress, and political leaders around the world," said Obama, who will take the oath of office on Jan. 20 as the 44th president of the United States.
"And I know he will do so once again as America's next treasury secretary, the chief economic spokesman for my administration," he added.
Obama also praised Summer's thinking, writing and speaking have set the terms of the debate, "with respect to both our current financial crisis and other pressing economic issues of our time."
"I'm glad he will be by my side, playing the critical role of coordinating my administration's economic policy in the White House, and I will rely heavily on his advice as we navigate the uncharted waters of this economic crisis," said the president-elect.
Media and politicians are hailing Obama's top economic appointments. Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, told ABC that Geithner's expected nomination is "overall a good appointment."
"I've worked with Tim Geithner. He's young. He's innovative. I believe he will be up to the challenge. He knows a lot about the economy and he knows a lot about problems," Shelby said. "He has been involved in the bailout. ... He is a breath of fresh air, so to speak. I think he will do well."
The Wall Street Journal editorial page called Geithner "probably the best choice," as "he guarantees the smoothest transition from the current Treasury team."
"This continuity is especially important given that the credit markets have taken a major step backward since Obama's election."
The Politico said Obama's economic team is getting "rave reviews on Wall Street and will likely get an easy ride through the Senate."
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is flanked by Council of Economic Advisors Director-designate Christina Romer(L), National Economic Council Director-designate Lawrence Summers (R) as he announces the members of his economic policy team during a news conference in Chicago, November 24, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
FAR MORE AGGRESSIVE STIMULUS PLAN
With the financial crisis looming as a top priority of his term, Obama vowed the new administration "cannot hesitate and cannot delay" to stem the turmoil and save the economy.
"Right now, our economy is trapped in a vicious cycle: the turmoil on Wall Street means a new round of belt-tightening for families and businesses on Main Street, and as folks produce less and consume less, that just deepens the problems in our financial markets," he said.
The president-elect said these extraordinary stresses on the U.S. financial system require extraordinary policy responses.
"And my administration will honor the public commitments made by the current administration to address this crisis," he noted.
Obama pledged he will propose a recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street, a plan "that stabilizes our financial system and gets credit flowing again," while creating and saving 2.5 million jobs.
Obama's team is putting together a new economic stimulus plan containing more than 500 billion U.S. dollars in federal spending and tax cuts over the next two years, Obama aides and advisers were quoted as saying.
That package would be far more aggressive than anything envisioned during the campaign, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Moreover, some economists speculated that the price tag could reach 700 billion dollars.
Obama declined to say how large the stimulus plan will be, but he said the plan will be "significant enough that it really gives a jolt to the economy."
"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," he added.
The president-elected also warned that full recovery will not happen immediately. "I want to repeat: This will not be easy. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and the economy is likely to get worse before it gets better," he stressed.
"And to make the investments we need, we'll have to scour our federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices," he noted.
But in an effort to bring confidence into the financial markets, Obama stated he was hopeful about the future.
"I have full confidence in the wisdom and ingenuity of my economic team and in the hard work, courage, and sacrifice of the American people," he said, adding he knew the United States will work out the crisis "because we've done it before." Source:Xinhua