ECONOMY WEEKLY - WEEK OF DECEMBER 7, 2009

For Immediate Release:

December 11, 2009

Contact:Katie Grant
Stephanie Lundberg
(202) 225 - 3130



“Looking at the situation we face today, what's clear is that our economy is in a very different place than it was when I took office last year.  Our economy at that time was on the brink of collapse…  Because of the Recovery Act and a number of other measures, and because of distasteful but necessary steps to help our auto industry recover and stabilize our banks, we've pulled our economy back from the abyss.  And while there's a lot of work left to do, our economy is now growing for the first time in over a year and we just received the best jobs report in over two years.”

– President Barack Obama, 12/9/2009
 
Economy Highlights:

• In a speech on Tuesday, President Obama outlined some of the steps he believes should be taken to accelerate job growth in areas that will generate the greatest number of jobs while generating the greatest value for our economy, including: “tax cuts for small businesses, incentives to hire new workers … a fresh round of infrastructure spending” and a new proposal to provide rebates for consumers who weatherize their homes. [Washington Post, 12/9/09]


• The Congressional Oversight Panel released a year-end review of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the effect it had on holding off a deeper economic crisis. “There is broad consensus that the TARP was an important part of a broader government strategy that stabilized the U.S. financial system by renewing the flow of credit and averting a more acute crisis.” [Congressional Oversight Panel, 12/9/09; New York Times, 12/10/09]


• The Department of the Treasury released a report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) “[demonstrating] that Treasury’s investments to stabilize the system are delivering higher returns than anticipated and that Treasury does not anticipate having to draw upon the full $700 billion in TARP authority. The impact of lower overall TARP investments and higher investment returns is projected to cut the impact of TARP on the deficit by about 60 percent or more from the August 2009 Mid-Session Review.” [Department of the Treasury, 12/10/09]
 
• The Federal Reserve announced that for the second straight quarter, the net worth of U.S. households rose 5% in the third quarter. “The data showed households and firms continuing to reshape their balance sheets -- paying down debt even as assets regain value -- as they recover from the recession… Household debt contracted at a 2.6% annual rate, the largest decline on record, as mortgage and credit-card borrowing fell. Nonfinancial business debt also declined at a 2.6% pace.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/11/09]


 

Recovery Highlights:

• President Obama announced Recovery Act awards to build and renovate existing community health centers in more than 30 states. These awards will “support major construction and renovation projects at 85 community health centers nationwide and help networks of health centers adopt Electronic Health Records (EHR) and other Health Information Technology (HIT) systems.  The awards are expected to not only create new job opportunities in construction and health care, but also help provide care for more than half a million additional patients in underserved communities.” [White House, 12/9/09]
 

• The Kaiser Family Foundation released a report indicating that the Recovery Act has helped states sustain and expand access to health insurance for families in need. “‘The renewal of CHIP and the fiscal relief and eligibility and enrollment protections for Medicaid in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) proved critical to enable states to continue their commitment to providing coverage to millions of low-income families,’ said Diane Rowland, Executive Vice President of the Foundation and Executive Director of the [Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured].” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 12/8/09]
 
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