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Obama issues US recovery pledge

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Obama calls for action on economy

US President Barack Obama has said his administration will be held accountable for the success or failure of his economic stimulus plan.

President Obama said all decisions about where to invest some $825bn (607bn) would be made public and published on a new website.

Mr Obama made the pledge in his first weekly radio and internet address since taking office on Tuesday.

Mr Obama has said his recovery plan could clear Congress by mid-February.

'Lose a generation'

President Obama said the United States had found itself "in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action".

He said: "Just this week, we saw more people file for unemployment than at any time in the last 26 years, and experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits.

"Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. And we could lose a generation of potential, as more young Americans are forced to forgo college dreams or the chance to train for the jobs of the future."

The US unemployment rate is 7.2%, after 524,000 jobs were lost in December.

The number of job losses last year was 2.6m, the largest since World War II.

Mr Obama said the economic recovery plan "will save or create three to four million jobs over the next few years".

"This recovery plan must and will include unprecedented measures that will allow the American people to hold my administration accountable for these results," he said.

Mr Obama announced:

  • More than 3,000 miles of new electricity transmission lines would be laid down to improve the US power network
  • 75% of public sector buildings would be made more energy-efficient, saving taxpayers $2bn a year
  • More than 2.5m homes would be "weatherized" (made more energy efficient),
  • Funds would be made available to improve or renovate 10,000 schools

President Obama said: "Instead of politicians doling out money behind a veil of secrecy, decisions about where we invest will be made public, and informed by independent experts whenever possible.

"We'll launch an unprecedented effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government, and every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new website called recovery.gov."

The recovery plan suggests more than 40% of the new jobs should go to women and 90% of them should be in the private sector.

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