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Page last updated at 03:31 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Obama pledges 'jolt' to economy

Obama unveils his US Treasury team

US President-elect Barack Obama has promised the rapid implementation of a multi-billion-dollar package to deliver a "jolt" to the ailing economy.

Mr Obama said he intended to create and save 2.5 million US jobs by investing in the national infrastructure.

But he stressed that the scale of the problem required action by the US in tandem with other governments.

Mr Obama also named his top economic advisers, confirming Timothy Geithner as the next treasury secretary.

Mr Obama said that having served in senior roles at Treasury, the IMF and the New York Federal Reserve, Mr Geithner would offer "an unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis, in all of its depth, complexity and urgency".

We are going to do what is required to jolt this economy back into shape
Barack Obama

Lawrence Summers, a former treasury secretary, will be the new head of the White House's National Economic Council, tasked with co-ordinating the president's economic plans.

Christina Romer, a co-director at the National Bureau of Economic Research, will chair Mr Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

Mr Obama said his team would begin work straight away as there was not "a minute to waste".

'Under stress'

At a press conference in Chicago, the president-elect said it was necessary not only to have a thriving Wall Street but a thriving Main Street too.

KEY ECONOMIC APPOINTMENTS
US Treasury Secretary:
Timothy Geithner, president, New York Federal Reserve
Director, White House National Economic Council:
Lawrence Summers, former Treasury secretary
Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers:
Christina Romer, co-director, National Bureau of Economic Research

"We are going to do what is required to jolt this economy back into shape," he said, although he refused to put a figure on the cost of the stimulus package.

Correspondents say there has been much speculation about the price tag, with some US politicians saying it could be as much as $700bn (463bn).

Speaking of the challenges ahead, Mr Obama said: "We are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions.

"Our financial markets are under stress. While we can't underestimate the challenges we face, we also can't underestimate our capacity to overcome them."

He said the problem was "no longer just an American crisis, it is a global crisis - and we will need to reach out to countries around the world to craft a global response".

Mr Obama said he would honour the public commitments made by President George W Bush - who leaves office on 20 January - to support the US economy.

Earlier, Mr Bush assured the American people that the US economy would recover from the crisis, saying the first step was to "safeguard our financial system".

Mr Obama is scheduled to announce further stimulus details on Tuesday - dealing in part with the issue of how to pay for the package.



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