Archive for Saturday, April 11, 2009

Obama says economy showing ‘glimmers of hope’

April 11, 2009


— President Barack Obama declared Friday that the slumping economy has begun to show “glimmers of hope,” but cautioned that it remains severely stressed and will require lots more work to turn it around.

Once criticized for talking too pessimistically about the economy, Obama is highlighting the positive.

“We’re starting to see glimmers of hope across the economy,” the president said after a White House meeting with his economic team, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top economic adviser Larry Summers. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke also participated in the session.

Obama echoed Summers’ prediction a day earlier that the “sense of a ball falling off a table” would end in a few months.

The president highlighted signs of thawing in the credit markets, particularly for small businesses seeking loans, along with tax cuts he said workers will soon see in their paychecks and a jump in mortgage refinancings because of historically low interest rates.

Obama said those positive moves as well as infrastructure work and other spending underwritten by his $787 billion stimulus program all point to welcome signs of long-anticipated economic improvement.

“We’re starting to see progress,” Obama said. “And if we stick with it, if we don’t flinch in the face of some difficulties, then I feel absolutely convinced that we are going to get this economy back on track.”

The president threw in a dose of sober reality, too.

“Now, we have always been very cautious about prognosticating and that’s not going to change just because it’s Easter,” Obama said. “The economy is still under severe stress.”

Unemployment hit a 25-year high of 8.5 percent in March, and many people are still losing their homes or jobs, or fear losing them.

“So we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Obama said. Without elaborating, he said the administration would take steps in the coming weeks to help further improve the business climate.

Gauging Wall Street’s response to Obama’s more upbeat take had to wait as the markets were closed for Good Friday.

Friday’s meeting was the first between Obama and his economic team since he returned from an overseas trip partly focused on the global economic crisis. He participated in a meeting last week in London of leaders from the 20 wealthiest and developing economies.

Also at Friday’s meeting were Christina Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers; Sheila Bair, chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro and Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan.

Recent economic statistics have hinted at signs of recovery from the recession that began in late 2007, including evidence that stock market investors, shoppers and homebuyers are less nervous than before. Wells Fargo & Co. issued a strong profit forecast this week, the government saw a drop in claims for unemployment benefits and several retailers predicted solid sales for April.

Once criticized for too much sour economy talk — Obama often told an anxious public that the situation would get much worse before it got better — he has begun to highlight the positive.

On Thursday, he urged eligible homeowners to refinance their mortgages using a special government program. He sat with a group of homeowners who had shaved hundreds of dollars from their monthly bills because of low interest rates.

“We are at a time where people can really take advantage of this,” Obama said.

His top economic adviser sounded a note of cautious optimism, as well.

“The sense of a ball falling off a table, which is what the economy has felt like since the middle of last fall, I think we can be reasonably confident that that is going to end within the next few months, and we will no longer have that sense of a free fall,” Summers said Thursday at the Economic Club of Washington.

However, he said it was too soon to forecast how strong the rebound would be and when it would take hold. He also refused to predict how high unemployment will rise before a sustainable recovery begins.


Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

Unemployment hit a 25-year high of 8.5 percent in March, and many people are still losing their homes or jobs, or fear losing them

Nice "glimmer"

Staci Dark Simpson 9 years, 1 month ago

Have not seen a glimmer yet. Frankly, starting to get worried

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

The Federal budget ran a $192 billion deficit in March. Cash outlay was 3 times income. The obligations/promises made by the Bush and Obama administrations in the last 9 months are equal to the entire GDP of the US for one year. That glimmer at the end of the tunnel that Obama sees is the light of the freight train of debt that is barrelling down on the US economy.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

godot- I think you got-it ..... Sure hope our grandkids are hard workers..

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

Over 10 per cent of FHA loans originated in the first quarter of 2008 are in default. The taxpayers are on the hook for those defaulted mortgages.

That figure of 8.5 per cent unemployment is not reality. It is actually over 16 percent when all those who are no longer eligible for unemployment, or looking for work, or working part time, are counted.

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

Haha, this is great!!! The economy is starting to improve thanks to the work of President Obama and congress. The stupid Kansas conservatives don't know what to do with themselves! They could never admit that they were wrong about Obama and that he has rescued our country from the worst financial situation since the Great Depression. It's no wonder that the conservatives can't see it... after all it was there idiot leader (Bush) who got us into this mess.

Thank you President Obama and Congress (at least those who voted for the Stimulus). You're doing a great job!

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

I disagree ocean. Geithner is doing a great job. He is a big reason for why we are starting to see the economy improve.

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

Thomas Frank has become one of my favorite authors. "What's the Matter with Kansas" is excellent. His newer book "The Wrecking Crew" is very good, too. It highlights the corruptive practices in the "conservative movement" that started in the 1980's and led us to George W. Bush.

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

"Wages out here on the coast are about the same"

Hahaha... this could be the funniest comment ever written on the LJW site! Do you really think this Liberty_One? A simple visit to wikipedia or a thousand other websites that show wage comparisons will show you that you are very wrong!

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

Liberty_one - If that is what you mean then you shouldn't write- "Wages out here on the coast are about the same".

It sounds like you meant to write "minimum wages are about the same in Kansas as on the coasts" . And the response to this would be... no duh! Federal minimum wage is the same everywhere.

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

But you didn't write "entry level" or "unskilled worker". You wrote- “Wages out here on the coast are about the same"

You lied and now you are trying to back track.

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

SInce you can't find data on your own, here you go:

As you can see, the top nine states by household income are all on the coast. Kansas meanwhile ranks 30th and the average household makes about $15,000 less than those top nine states along the coasts. Are you going to admit to your lie now?

Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 1 month ago

Oh, for the love of God, President Obama is an American. He has never been a Kenyan. Do you know how silly that sounds. He is not ashamed of his father and he should not be. We all have the right to be proud of our parents and our heritage. As far I know there is nothing so terrible about the Kenyan people. It reads like prejudice even though it might not have been meant that way. Race is is a very sensitive subject. I shudder to think what people would be writing if Hilary Clinton had been elected as president. For the first time in a long time I am proud of my country and where it is headed. I am proud of how other countries react to our president.

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

I am waiting for the time when Obama takes it upon himself to apologize to the world for the humanitarian attrocities committed by the successions of govenments of Kenya.

It is only right that Obama should apologize for the atrocities committed by the land of his fatherhood, being that he is the self aggrandized leader of the world.

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

"self aggrandized"

Hahaha, Godot uses stupid words and he doesn't even know wha they mean. What a conservative (idiot)!

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

"Barack Hussein Obama is half-Kenyan"

Wrong Marion. Obama is an American and he is your President. Hahahah! It doesn't matter what country his dad was from, Obama was born in America. It sucks to be you, Marion! Marion is a stupid conservative!

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