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Obama gears for economic offensive

world Updated: Sep 07, 2010 00:41 IST
AFP
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US President Barack Obama will travel to Wisconsin on Monday as part of a broad effort to stem ebbing political support over the slowing economic recovery.

On Saturday, Obama vowed to expand a prosperous middle class and help his compatriots achieve the American Dream.

"This Labor Day, we should recommit ourselves to our time-honoured values and to this fundamental truth: to heal our economy, we need more than a healthy stock market; we need bustling main streets and a growing, thriving middle class," he said in a radio address.

The comments came after a new Labor Department report released on Friday showed the economy lost 54,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.6 per cent. Although the job losses were much less than the 120,000 slump expected by Wall Street economists.

Obama's economic team is considering a raft of new measures to inject impetus into the economy, which one report said could include tax breaks for businesses that could reach hundreds of billions of dollars.

But with little appetite in Washington for a massive new round of government stimulus spending, with congressional elections looming in November, the White House said there would be no repeat of massive $814 billion 2009 Recovery Act.

Republicans brand the stimulus plan a huge waste of taxpayer money. Obama, however, argues that the bill did nothing less than stave off a second Great Depression.

Obama is expected to call for a new infrastructure plan on Monday as he bids to find ways to jump-start the US economy. The plan will invest about $50 billion in roads, railways and airports as well as high-speed rail and the creation of an infrastructure bank.