Obama: We can pay down deficit faster than we thought, create jobs with excess bailout money
UPDATED with reaction from Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) at 2:07 p.m.:
In a speech earlier today at Washington's Brookings Institution, President Obama said money not spent by the TARP taxpayer-funded bailout put in place last year will "give us a chance to pay down the deficit faster than we thought possible and shift funds that would have gone to help the banks on Wall Street to help create jobs on Main Street."
Obama said those who say government must choose between creating jobs and paying down the deficit are creating a "false choice."
Shortly after Obama spoke, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) reacted strongly to the president's plans, saying the TARP money was never meant to be spent on anything but paying down the deficit.
“This makes me so angry," Boehner told reporters. "I was there -- I know all about TARP. First, it was never intended that all this money was going to be spent. But any money that wasn’t spent was going to go to the deficit. The idea of taking this money and spending it is repulsive."
Obama said that new jobs create revenue and cut down on spending on things like unemployment insurance that add to the deficits.
The president said the TARP bailout program will be wound down. He said he couldn't remember a "less-loved or more necessary emergency program than TARP."
Obama laid out plans -- though without details so far -- to help boost small businesses, improve the nation's infrastructure and offer government incentives for Americans who winterize their homes, called by some, "cash for caulkers."
"Small business, infrastructure, clean energy: these are areas where we can put Americans to work while putting America on a sturdier economic footing," Obama said.
-- Frank Ahrens
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December 8, 2009; 2:07 PM ET
Categories: The Ticker | Tags: Obama, unemployment
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