Obama details his 'economic rescue plan'

Business Materials 14 October 2008 00:27 (UTC +04:00)
Obama details his 'economic rescue plan'

Sen. Barack Obama on Monday detailed what his campaign called a four-part "economic rescue plan" for the middle class, reports CNN.

"I'm proposing a number of steps that we should take immediately to stabilize our financial system, provide relief to families and communities, and help struggling homeowners," Obama said at a campaign event in Toledo, Ohio. "It's a plan that begins with one word that's on everyone's mind, and it's easy to spell: J-O-B-S."

Obama's plan comes as aides to Sen. John McCain said their candidate would likely wait to lay out any further plans until the Treasury issues a report or recommendations on what to do with the bailout.

McCain has already unveiled a plan to buy $300 billion in troubled mortgages and renegotiate the terms directly with homeowners. On Friday, he endorsed the idea of suspending the current requirement that seniors start drawing down their IRAs and 401(k)s once they reach age 70½.

Obama on Monday proposed a temporary tax credit for firms that create new jobs in the United States over the next two years, and penalty-free withdrawals from IRAs and 401(k)s in 2008 and 2009.

The Democratic candidate called for new legislation that would give families the option of withdrawing as much as 15 percent of their retirement savings --- up to a maximum of $10,000 --- without facing a tax penalty this year or next. He also called for a temporary lifting of taxes on unemployment insurance benefits.

Under the Obama plan, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury would provide much the same kind of backing to state and municipal governments as the recent federal bailout did to the commercial credit market.

"We can't wait to help workers and families and communities who are struggling right now -- who don't know if their job or their retirement will be there tomorrow; who don't know if next week's paycheck will cover this month's bills," Obama said. "We need to pass an economic rescue plan for the middle-class ... and we need to do it right now."

The McCain campaign said Obama's economic rescue plan was a political move that would not provide solutions.

"It is clear that the economy is hurting, that Americans need across-the-board tax relief, and yet Barack Obama has proven unwilling to break with the left-wing of his party and stand up for the American taxpayer," spokesman Tucker Bounds said. Fact check: Obama's tax plan and small businesses

"Interestingly, Barack Obama called [for] a moratorium on foreclosures, which is a policy he had previously labeled 'disastrous' when it was proposed by a political opponent. Proving yet again that Barack Obama's positions on the issues are tied to elections, not solutions for the American people," he said.

During the primaries, Obama criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton's plan, which, unlike his, included a freeze on interest rates.

Earlier Monday, McCain delivered a speech that a senior aide predicted would "begin a turnaround for the campaign."

On the new tone, the aide said the campaign decided to go "back to basics" with McCain on what he can offer.

McCain told voters Monday that they should elect him because "what America needs in this hour is a fighter."

"Let me give you the state of the race today and some straight talk. We have 22 days to go. We're 6 points down. The national media has written us off," McCain said to a sea of boos.

CNN's most recent poll of polls shows Obama leading McCain by 8 percentage points, 50 to 42 percent.

"Sen. Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Sen. [Harry] Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections, and concede defeat in Iraq. ... But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them," he said.

"Less than 12 hours after his campaign announced that Sen. McCain would finally have some new ideas on the economy, he decided that it was more important to give a new political speech about where he is in the polls," said Obama-Biden communications director Dan Pfeiffer.

McCain advisers downplayed weekend reports that the Arizona senator would be unveiling several economic proposals over the final three weeks of the campaign, saying it was likely he would lay out one or two new ideas, but not the swarm that had been rumored.

They also downplayed a Sunday suggestion by McCain surrogate Lindsey Graham that a new economic plan rollout might focus on plans to cut taxes on capital gains and dividends, saying that the South Carolina senator had good ideas but that they had not yet been approved by the campaign.