Obama Pledges to Put More Americans Back to Work

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the U.S. president said Saturday he will 'focus every single day' on building the economy and getting people into productive jobs.

U.S. President Barack Obama (File)
U.S. President Barack Obama (File)


Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama is pledging to do whatever he can to put more Americans back to work.  The president says November's lower jobless rate is encouraging, but not good enough.

President Obama will speak on Tuesday about his plans for tackling the nation's 10 percent unemployment rate.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Mr. Obama says the drop from October's 10.2 percent jobless rate is a positive trend, but he is not satisfied.

"But for those who were laid off last month and the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession, a good trend is not good enough.  Trends do not buy the groceries.  Trends do not pay the rent or a college tuition."

The president says the U.S. economy is in a very different place from early in 2009, when 700,000 jobs a month were being lost.  In November, 11,000 jobs were lost.

Mr. Obama says his $787 billion stimulus plan prevented a possible collapse of the financial system or a potential second Great Depression.  But he says history shows that hiring is often slow to follow an economic rebound.

"Even as the economy grows, it takes time for jobs to follow," he added.  "But the folks who have been looking for work without any luck for months and, in some cases, years, cannot wait any longer.  For them, I am determined to do everything I can to accelerate our progress so we are actually adding jobs again."

An administration official suggests that money originally set aside to buy the troubled assets of financial firms may be used for job creation.

White House officials also say Mr. Obama will go to Capitol Hill on Sunday to meet with Democratic lawmakers on efforts to advance health care reform, a key part of the president's economic plan.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to form a compromise among Democrats about whether health reform legislation should include an option for government-run insurance.

Health care reform is also the topic of the Republican Party's weekly address.  California U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, a breast cancer survivor, is criticizing a recent recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of health care experts.  The group said most women under 50 do not need regular mammograms and that women over 50 should only get them every other year.

Fiorina says under Democratic health reform legislation, government panels would have too much influence on patients' health care.

"Do we really want government bureaucrats rather than doctors dictating how we prevent and treat something like breast cancer?" she asked.

President Obama has assured Americans that they can stay with their present health care providers, if they choose.

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