We will rebuild and recover: Obama

President Barack Obama laid out an ambitious agenda before the American people and their representatives on Tuesday, striking a note of optimism in a time of gloom, reports V Krishna.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Feb 25, 2009 11:31 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | ByV Krishna, Washington

President Barack Obama laid out an ambitious agenda before the American people and their representatives on Tuesday, striking a note of optimism in a time of gloom.

“While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken ... we will rebuild, we will recover and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,” he said in his first address to Congress.

In thinly veiled criticism of his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama said, “We have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity.... A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future.”

“Now,” he said, “is the time to act boldly and wisely.” The recovery plan he signed into law last week, which would save or create 3.5 million jobs, was only a beginning. “There will be no real recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis.”

His administration would ensure that major banks had enough confidence and enough money to lend even in more difficult times.

To transform its economy, he said, the United States would have to meet three challenges: 1. make clean, renewable energy profitable (to which end he asked for a market-based cap on carbon pollution); 2. address the crushing cost of health care; and 3. expand the promise of education (including a 2020 goal of again having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world).

On the foreign policy front, Obama said a new era of engagement had begun. “With our friends and allies, we will forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat Al Qaeda and combat extremism.”

The speech was repeatedly interrupted by applause.

Louisiana’s Indian-American Governor Bobby Jindal, who had the unenviable task of delivering the Republican response, highlighted a fundamental disagreement about the role of government.

“We appreciate his message of hope,” Jindal said, “but sometimes it seems we look for hope in different places. Democratic leaders in Washington place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you — the American people.”

While some projects in the recovery bill make sense, the legislation is larded with wasteful spending, he said.

Jindal, who started his speech with his own story as a child of immigrants, “did pretty well,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate professor of political science at the University of California Riverside.

Swadesh Chatterjee, chairman of the US-India Friendship Council and a Democrat, said Jindal articulated differences in philosophy very well.

Ashok Mago, a Republican who is chairman of the Dallas based US-India Forum, said the national exposure should help Jindal, who has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

  • SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk.

    Elon Musk's Twitter hiatus, in 2nd week now,  generates curiosity 

    The world's richest person, Elon Musk, has not tweeted in about 10 days and it can't go unnoticed. The 51-year-old business tycoon has 100 million followers on the microblogging site, which he is planning to buy. Since April, he has been making headlines for the $44 billion deal and his comments and concerns about the presence of a large number of fake accounts on Twitter.

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard at a news conference about a new command of hijab by Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Taliban's reclusive supreme leader attends gathering in Kabul: Report

    The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada joined a large gathering of nationwide religious leaders in Kabul on Friday, the state news agency said, adding he would give a speech. The Taliban's state-run Bakhtar News Agency confirmed the reclusive leader, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, was attending the meeting of more than 3,000 male participants from around the country, aimed at discussing issues of national unity.

  • James Topp, a Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada protesting against the Covid-19 vaccines mandates, speaks to supporters as he arrives at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial ahead of Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday. (REUTERS)

    July 1: Canada to mark 155th anniversary of its formation

    As the country prepares to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation, Canada Day, the traditional centre of festivities, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be off limits as protesters linked to the Freedom Convoy begin gathering in the capital for the long weekend. Various events have been listed by protesters including a march to Parliament Hill on Friday.

  • This image of a "Most Wanted" poster obtained from the FBI on June 30, 2022, shows Ruja Ignatova. - Ignatova, dubbed the "Crypto Queen." after she raised billions of dollars in a fraudulent virtual currency scheme was placed on the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives list June 30, 2022. (Photo by Handout / FBI / AFP) / 

    Bulgaria's ‘Crypto Queen’ Ruja Ignatova added to FBI's most-wanted list

    A Bulgarian woman dubbed the "Crypto Queen" afteIgnatovahe raised billions of dollars in a fraudulent virtual currency scheme was placed on the FBI's 10 most wanted list Thursday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation put up a $100,000 reward for Ruja Ignatova, who disappeared in Greece in October 2017 around the time US authorities filed a sealed indictment and warrant for her arrest.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, July 01, 2022