President Obama this morning responded to the news announced by the Commerce Department that economy sank further in the last quarter of last year, saying it was a symbol of the suffering of the American people constituting "the American dream in reverse."
"Today we learned that our economy shrank in the last three months of 2008 by 3.8 percent," the president said at an event in the East Room of the White House. "That’s the worst contraction in close to three decades. This isn’t just an economic concept. This is a continuing disaster for America’s working families."
The president said that "every day it seems there is another round of layoffs, another round of jobs lost and families’ lives turned upside down." During the campaign, Mr. Obama said, voters all over the country "told me about jobs lost and homes foreclosed, hours cut and benefits slashed, the costs of life slowly slipping away and — chipping away at the hopes of affording college or a new home or retirement. It’s like the American dream in reverse."
The East Room ceremony had been called to formally announce the creation of a Middle Class Task Force, headed by Vice President Biden, and for President Obama to sign three labor-related executive orders.
But President Obama also took the opportunity to herald the stimulus package making its way through Congress as part of a solution to the economic quagmire.
"I hope we can strengthen it further in the Senate," the president said of the bill. "What we can’t do is drag our feet or delay much longer."