Obama & Biden React to Job Loss News

Dec 5, 2008 12:39pm

With Friday’s announcement that last month the country suffered its worst job losses in the last 34 years, President-elect Barack Obama called for an "urgent" response to the financial crisis and Vice President-elect Joe Biden announced the creation of a new economic position within his office.

"There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better," Obama said in a statement. "But now is the time to respond with urgent resolve to put people back to work and get our economy moving again."

On Friday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the nation’s employers had cut 533,000 workers from their payrolls last month.

The President-elect called the news "more than a dramatic reflection of the growing economic crisis", noting that "each of those lost jobs represents a personal crisis for a  family somewhere in America."

Obama reiterated his call for an Economic Recovery Plan to save or create 2.5 million jobs during his first two years in office. Specifically, the President-elect emphasized the need for improving the nation’s infrastructure by rebuilding roads and schools, investing in green technologies, and reforming the nation’s budget.

Hours later, Biden announced the creation of a new position within the Office of the Vice President: Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor. The Delaware lawmaker named economist Jared Bernstein to the new post.

"Jared Bernstein is an acclaimed economist and a proven, passionate advocate for raising the incomes of middle class families," Biden said. "His expertise and background in a wide range of domestic and international economic policies will be an invaluable asset to the Obama-Biden Administration."

Bernstein has been an economist at the Economic Policy Institute since 1992, as well as serving from 1995-1996 as Deputy Chief Economist for the Labor Department during Secretary Robert Reich’s reign in the Clinton administration.

"It’s an honor to have him on my team and I look forward to his advice and counsel," said Biden.

The statement announcing Bernstein’s appointment praised him as an "expert in the areas of federal, state and international economic policies, specifically the middle-class squeeze, income inequality, trends in employment and earnings, low-wage labor markets, poverty and international comparisons."

– Jake Tapper & Matt Jaffe

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