In his first weekly radio address since the Commerce Department announced that the U.S. gross domestic product shrank at an annual 3.8% rate in the fourth quarter, President Barack Obama urged Congress to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which was passed by the House on Wednesday and is due to be taken by by the Senate next week. He predicted the stimulus would "save or create more than 3 million jobs over the next few years ..., put a tax cut into the pockets of working families, and place a down payment on America's future by investing in energy independence and education, affordable health care, and American infrastructure."
He also took the opportunity to comment on a report that the securities industry paid en extimated $18.4 billion in bonuses to New York City employees. "[W]e learned this week that even as they petitioned for taxpayer assistance, Wall Street firms shamefully paid out nearly $20 billion in bonuses for 2008. While I'm committed to doing what it takes to maintain the flow of credit, the American people will not excuse or tolerate such arrogance and greed. The road to recovery demands that we all act responsibly, from Main Street to Washington to Wall Street."
Finally, he announced that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner "soon" will "announce a new strategy for reviving our financial system that gets credit flowing to businesses and families, ... help lower mortgage costs and extend loans to small businesses so they can create jobs, ... ensure that CEOs are not draining funds that should be advancing our recovery, [and include] unprecedented transparency, rigorous oversight, and clear accountability -- so taxpayers know how their money is being spent and whether it is achieving results." However, he provided no additional details about the administration's forthcoming proposal.