The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Obama Brings the Stimulus Package Home

2/21/09: Your Weekly Address from White House on Vimeo.

By Anne E. Kornblut
President Obama won the political war over whether to pass a stimulus package -- signing into law a $787 billion piece of legislation earlier this week. Now, as one of his aides put it, Obama is trying to win the peace.

That means selling the new law's benefits, and explaining how it will work as it is enacted. Today, in his weekly address, Obama announced that the Treasury Department would begin directing employers to reduce tax withholding from workers' paychecks, which would provide the average family with at least an extra $65 per month.

"Because of what we did, 95 percent of all working families will get a tax cut - in keeping with a promise I made on the campaign," Obama said. The new withholding levels, he said, would take effect April 1. "Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans."

Obama has a busy economic week ahead: He is holding a summit on fiscal responsibility at the White House on Monday, then plans to deliver a joint address to Congress on Tuesday night. His budget's blueprint is scheduled for release later in the week. The document will offer a guide to the president's priorities, and is expected to emphasize health care. In a new approach for the White House, it will also account for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Obama today sought to keep attention focused on the broader economic picture.

"No single piece of this broad economic recovery can, by itself, meet the demands that have been placed on us. We can't help people find work or pay their bills unless we unlock credit for families and businesses," he said

"We can't solve our housing crisis unless we help people find work so they can make payments on their homes. We can't produce shared prosperity without firm rules of the road and we can't generate sustained growth without getting our deficits under control. In short, we cannot successfully address any of our problems without addressing them all. And that is exactly what the strategy we are pursuing is designed to do."

He continued: "None of this will be easy. The road ahead will be long and full of hazards. But I'm confident that we, as a people, have the strength and wisdom to carry out this strategy and overcome this crisis. And if we do, our economy - and our country - will be better and stronger for it."

Posted at 6:00 AM ET on Feb 21, 2009  | Category:  Economy
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I am curious about the credit for homeowners who upgrade their home heating system to a more energy-efficient system -- what the requirements are, whether you have to wait until a specific date or it's okay to go ahead now, etc. We need actionable info on this one.

I'm not clear whether the info on that will come from one's local or state government, the Department of Energy, local heating contractors, or Home Depot, but the quicker they get this kind of practical info out to the public, the quicker this will encourage them to act.

What I like about this credit is that it not only adds or saves jobs for heating installers (and the staff at the store selling the equipment), but that it creates a lasting home improvement, saves you money on future utility bills, and begins to attack energy dependence and climate change. Let's get going on this!

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | February 22, 2009 11:09 PM

On a more practical note -

If you own a small biz like I do, or if you work for one, it's time to get your biz. registered as a vendor with the Federal Govt.

From what I understand there are some hoops to go through and some paperwork to do - but if your regular customers aren't buying - or if they're buying but not paying - it's time to be ready to go to the biggest cash customer in the market.

I've never explored this option before because I didn't want to and didn't need to. But if your payroll depends on it and you want to keep your people working, check out this link:

Posted by: JohnQuimby | February 21, 2009 11:18 PM

We'll see. Anyone else who gets a paycheck should max out their W-4 allowances to 9 and turn that in to their employer first thing Monday morning. That will get you more than $65 per month and will send a HUGE message to Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | February 21, 2009 11:00 AM

First, he is natural born. [Folks in tinfoil hats don't make national policy. The judicial branch is the ultimate judge and has tossed the lawsuits.] Second, I agree. The economy will improve within 44 months.

Perhaps Obama should have said conservatives cling to their delusions.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 21, 2009 10:30 AM

First, Obama is not legally President if he is not a "natural born" citizen. Second, even he has admitted he's out of the White House if the economy doesn't improve in 44 months (hopefully sooner than that ; )

Posted by: JakeD | February 21, 2009 9:37 AM

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