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Biden: U.S. Economy in Danger of 'Absolutely Tanking'


Biden: U.S. Economy in Danger of 'Absolutely Tanking'

December 19, 2008 3:42 PM

Abcjoebidencu Vice President-Elect Joe Biden said the U.S. economy is in danger of "absolutely tanking" and will need a second stimulus package in the $600-billion to $700-billion range.

"The economy is in much worse shape than we thought it was in," Biden told me during an exclusive interview -- his first since becoming vice president-elect-- to air this Sunday on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"There is no short run other than keeping the economy from absolutely tanking. That's the only short run," Biden told me.

Biden said he has canvassed Republican and Democratic members of Congress about a second "big" and "bold" stimulus package . He said the Obama team is focused on creating jobs and spending on energy and information technology infrastructure.

"Every single person I've spoken to agrees with every major economist. There is going to be real significant investment, whether it's $600 billion or more, or $700 billion, the clear notion is, it's a number no one thought about a year ago," he said.

The future vice president said the struggling economy will be the number one priority for the Obama Administration next year.

"The single most important thing we have to do as a new administration, to have -- to be able to have impact on all of the other things we want to do, from foreign policy to domestic policy, is we've got to begin to stem this bleeding here and begin to stop the loss of jobs in the creation of jobs," he said.

In a wide-ranging interview to air on Sunday, Biden gave his most extensive explanation yet on his role in the transition, and what specifically Obama wants him to do after the inauguration.

We also discussed:

- conversations he had with Sen. Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton about the State Department position;

-the future of Guantanamo Bay;

-the possible prosecution of high-ranking Bush Administration officials for their role in the prison abuse scandal;

and what he really thinks of his predecessor, Vice President **** Cheney.

He also has some news on the dog front ... more to come.

--George Stephanopoulos

end quote.

Many of the political leaders and economic experts are repeatedly warning of a looming financial crash.

Time to take the threat seriously.

4,048 Posts
Maybe this is why Biden is now being given...'make-work'?

Biden Given Laughable 'Middle Class' Job

Sunday, December 21, 2008 7:51 PM

WASHINGTON – As vice president, Joe Biden will oversee an Obama administration effort to find ways of building up the ranks of the middle class, that ambiguously defined segment of society most Americans identify with.

The task force will include four Cabinet members as well as other presidential advisers, the Obama transition team announced Sunday.

The goal is to recommend proposals to ensure the middle class is "no longer being left behind," Biden said. The proposals could include executive orders and legislative plans.

"Our charge is to look at existing and future policies across the board and use a yard stick to measure how they are impacting the working and middle-class families," Biden said in a statement released Sunday. "Is the number of these families growing? Are they prospering? President-elect Obama and I know the economic health of working families has eroded, and we intend to turn that around."

Overseeing a task force has become tradition for vice presidents.

**** Cheney led a task force on energy. Al Gore had the task of reinventing government. George H.W. Bush, while serving as Ronald Reagan's vice president, oversaw a task force charged with reducing government regulation. While all of those efforts resulted in some accomplishments, it's also clear that the issues they confronted were so large and systemic that many could and did question the progress they made.

Biden said the measure of economic success in an Obama administration would be whether the middle class was growing.

The transition team promised the task force's work would be transparent, with annual reports on its findings and recommendations. Also, any submissions from outside groups are to be posted on the Internet. By comparison, Cheney, a former oil man, fought to keep the White House energy task force's deliberations secret.

Task force members will include the secretaries of labor, health and human services, education, and commerce, as well as the directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council and the head of the Council of Economic Advisers.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Biden took care to define his role as vice president as going beyond a particular task. He said that when he discussed the job with Barack Obama during the campaign, he told Obama he didn't "want to be the guy that goes out and has a specific assignment." Rather, he wanted to have a voice in every matter of importance.

"I said I want a commitment from you that in every important decision you'll make, every critical decision, economic and political as well as foreign policy, I'll get to be in the room," Biden said.

He said that Obama agreed and has adhered to that commitment.

"Every single solitary appointment he has made thus far, I have been in the room," said Biden, who was elected seven times to the Senate. "The recommendations I have made in most cases, coincidentally, have been the recommendations that he's picked, not because I made them, but because we think a lot alike."

Biden also covered topics from the auto bailout to his continued desire to close the Guantanamo prison holding terrorist suspects:

The loan agreement for automakers will require sacrifices from all segments of the industry. While saying organized labor did not bring the carmakers to the brink of collapse, unions in particular are "going to have to make some additional sacrifices, and they know it and they understand it."

The economic aid plan being readied by the Obama team will focus on creating a strong energy grid, will pay for thousands of new jobs focusing on making buildings and homes more energy efficient and will help health care providers invest in electronic record keeping for patients. "The end result, though, the money we're spending, we're going to get back three- and four fold."

The military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should close, and the U.S. reputation abroad has suffered as a result of the Bush administration's policies on surveillance and detainees. "To quote from a previous national security report put out by the intelligence community, we have created, not dissuaded, more terrorists as a consequence of this policy," Biden said.

It's up to the Justice Department to determine if charges should be filed against any member of the Bush administration for prisoner abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. "President-elect Obama and I are not sitting thinking about the past," he said.

© 2008 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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