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WASHINGTON (AP) - Confronting misgivings, even in his own party, President Barack Obama mounted a stout defense of his blueprint to overhaul the economy Thursday, declaring the national crisis is "not as bad as we think" and his plans will speed recovery.
Challenged to provide encouragement as the nation's "confidence builder in chief," Obama said Americans shouldn't be whipsawed by bursts of either bad or good news and he was "highly optimistic" about the long term.
The president's proposals for major health care, energy and education changes in the midst of economic hard times faced skepticism from both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, as senators questioned his budget outlook and the deficits it envisions in the middle of the next decade.
But Obama, speaking to top executives of the Business Roundtable, expressed an optimistic vision and called for patience.
Richard Parsons, chairman of beleaguered Citigroup Inc., asked if Obama could offer some help in a national battle "between confidence and fear."
"A smidgen of good news and suddenly everything is doing great. A little bit of bad news and ooohh , we're down on the dumps," Obama said. "And I am obviously an object of this constantly varying assessment. I am the object in chief of this varying assessment."
So for now on expect only good news coming from the markets and bad news only when the President needs to ask the tax payer to bend more because another stimulus is needed
By Megan Davies and Walden Siew
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private equity company Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) CEO Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that up to 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed by the global credit crisis.
"Between 40 and 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half," Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. "This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime."
President Barack Obama’s handy excuse for all sorts of goofs and missteps is that he’s too busy working on fixing the economy. In order to do that, one might expect that Obama would concentrate on building his economic team at the Department of the Treasury, where most of those efforts would originate and get managed. Instead, as noted earlier today, phones go unanswered at Treasury — and our allies and trading partners have begun complaining about the lack of effort in the White House.
From that, we know that more than four dozen positions remain unfilled — positions that Geithner has to fill himself. But what about positions that the White House has to appoint? I researched that question this morning, and found the list of positions at Treasury that require White House appointment and Senate confirmation.
It’s quite a list: * Secretary * Deputy Secretary * Under Secretary — Domestic Finance * Under Secretary — International Affairs * Under Secretary — Terrorism and Financial Intelligence * Assistant Secretary — Economic Policy * Assistant Secretary — Financial Markets * Assistant Secretary (Deputy Under Secretary) — International Affairs * Assistant Secretary (Deputy Under Secretary) — Legislative Affairs * Assistant Secretary — Management and Chief Financial Officer * Assistant Secretary — Public Affairs/Director — Policy Planning * Assistant Secretary — Tax Policy * Chief Counsel — Internal Revenue Service/Assistant General Counsel for Tax * Commissioner — Internal Revenue (five-year terms of office) * General Counsel * Inspector General * Inspector General — Tax Administration * Treasurer — United States
"If we do not move swiftly to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, an economy that is already in crisis will be faced with catastrophe," Obama said.
"We are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin," he said.