WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama painted a bleak economic outlook as he took his case for an economic recovery package to the American public on Thursday in his first major policy speech since the election.
“We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime — a crisis that has only deepened over the last few weeks,” Obama said in the speech at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. “Nearly two million jobs have now been lost, and on Friday we are likely to learn [in a government report] that we lost more jobs last year than at any time since World War II.”
The president-elect said if “dramatic action” is not taken immediately, “this recession could linger for years.”
“The unemployment rate could reach double digits,” Obama said. “Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.”
Amid mounting bankruptcies and liquidations, Obama has spent this week on Capitol Hill conferring with lawmakers about an economic stimulus plan he estimates could cost $775 billion to create or save 3 million jobs, put more money into consumers’ pockets through tax cuts, and reinvigorate business investment and job retention with a package of tax incentives.
As he prepares to officially take the reins on Jan. 20, Obama faces significant challenges domestically and internationally. In addition to a recession at home, a two-front war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to drive up the deficit, which is now projected by the Congressional Budget Office to hit $1.2 trillion this year.
The rising deficit has spawned concern among fiscally conservative Democrats and Republican lawmakers about the cost of Obama’s stimulus package that could increase as Congress puts its own stamp on it. But most economists agree the country needs a massive plan to jump-start the economy, create jobs, spark investment and thaw frozen credit markets.
Obama’s proposed plan would provide $300 billion in tax cuts for workers and businesses; implement a huge jobs program to repair the nation’s aging infrastructure; bolster states’ budgets, and provide incentives for alternative energy usage and production. The plan provides the last piece needed to stem the effects of the deepening recession, said Richard Yamarone, chief economist, Argus Research Corp. Improved energy prices and monetary policy have gone as far as they can without the added boost of federal government action.
“Unless we get that other piston firing, which is fiscal policy, the U.S. economy is not going to be moving,” Yamarone said. “You’re going to continue to see job layoff after job layoff. We need the government to step up.”
Consensus expectations for today’s unemployment report are that more than 400,000 jobs were lost last month and some estimates predict closer to 600,000 jobs could have evaporated. In November, 533,000 jobs vanished, the worst monthly drop in 34 years and the 11th consecutive monthly decline.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)