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Obama urges patience for recovery

WITH the United States economy still firmly in the grip of a tenacious recession, US President Barack Obama is urging Americans to have patience and give his economic recovery plan time to work.

Restating themes he laid out in his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said in an op-ed posted yesterday on The Washington Post's Website that his US$787-billion stimulus program was not expected to return the economy to full health, but to provide a boost that would stop the free fall.

"So far, it has done that," the president wrote. "It was, from the start, a two-year program, and it will steadily save and create jobs as it ramps up over this summer and fall."

He said his stimulus plan must be given time to work and appealed to Americans, who are increasingly uneasy with rising unemployment and ballooning budget deficits, to let his plan "work the way it's supposed to, with the understanding that in any recession, unemployment tends to recover more slowly than other measures of economic activity."

The public has said in polls that it was willing to give Obama time to deal with the economic mess he inherited from George W. Bush, but with unemployment pushing toward 10 percent, that patience will likely be tested.

Republicans, sensing a political opening, have seized the opportunity to argue that Obama's economic stimulus plan was expensive and ineffective.

"Simply put, this is now President Obama's economy, and the American people are beginning to question whether his policies are working," Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia said.

Obama said: "Even as we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, I have insisted that we must rebuild it better than before." Health care costs must be controlled, jobs created within the US, worker training programs established and budget deficits reduced, he said.


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