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More Americans to lose jobs: Obama

By Lalit K Jha in Washington
April 30, 2009 16:35 IST
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As the US clears the meltdown 'wreckage', more Americans will lose jobs and face tough times before the recession is out, President Barack Obama said on Thursday after completing 100 days in office.

"Millions of Americans are still without jobs and homes, and more will be lost before this recession is over," Obama said at a press conference in Washington.

While his administration was "off to a good start. . ., the government is not as efficient as it should be," Obama said.

Millions of Americans are without jobs and homes. Credit is not flowing as freely as it should. "Countless families touched by (the) auto industry still face tough times ahead . . .," he said.

While the 'wreckage of this recession' is being cleared, Obama vowed not to go back to an economy "built on a pile of sand, on inflated home prices and maxed-out credit cards, on overleveraged banks and outdated regulations that allow recklessness of a few to threaten the prosperity of all".

By the year-end, he will sign legislation that sets new rules for Wall Street and prevents "short cuts and abuse".

The President, who has become chief shareholder in several US firms, said, "I don't want to run auto companies. I don't want to run banks. So the sooner we can get out of that business, the better off we are going to be".

Troubled companies like Chrysler and General Motors seeking government help will have to take tough decisions, he said.

With respect to General Motors, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, Obama said the company is in the process of presenting before the government its revival plans.

However, he made it clear that it was his 'obligation to make sure that any taxpayer dollars in place to support the auto industry are aimed not at short-term fixes that continue these companies as wards of the state. . .'

On Chrysler, which is in a similar boat, Obama said the major debt-holders appear ready to make concessions. It would then mean that even if the company ends up going through bankruptcy, 'it would be a very quick type of bankruptcy'.

He said some 'tough choices' are being made even though his administration would not want 'micro-managing' things. He said the American taxpayer has the right to scrutinise what is being proposed and make sure that his money is not being thrown down the drain.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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