WASHINGTON - Pesident-elect Barack Obama is warning that the economy is going to get worse before it gets better. But he has sweeping new plans to get the country moving again.
He's proposing changes on everything from rebuilding roads to education to health care.
Obama Issues Sober Warning
With the economy in recession, unemployment above 6.5 percent, and credit far from unclogged, the nation's incoming President gave a frank warning of a worsening economy.
"When you think about the structural problems we had in the economy - this is a big problem and it's gonna get worse," Obama told NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.
On the heels of last week's report showing the loss of 533,000 jobs in November, Obama outlined his blueprint for recovery.
He announced the largest u-s public works spending program since the creation of the interstate highway system 50-years ago.
"We need action and action now. That's why I've asked my team to develop an economic recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street that will help save or create at least 2.5 million jobs," Obama said.
A 'New' New Deal?
Some are calling it the 'new deal of the 21st century' in which Obama is tying campaign promises in education, energy, and health care to job creation.
The plan includes making public buildings more energy efficient, lowering costs by upgrading heating systems and using energy-efficient light bulbs.
It also calls for millions of new jobs through investment in the nation's roads and bridges; upgrading and modernizing public schools to make students more competitive; expanding broadband access across the U.S.; and using technology to modernize America's health care system.
Obama did not put a price tag on his plan, but he said it would include help for struggling homeowners, saying the Bush administration has not done enough to help them.
"We have not seen the kind of aggressive steps in the housing market to stem foreclosure that I would like to see. If it is not done during the transition, it will be done by me," Obama vowed.
Wall Street Looking Up
Congressional leaders say they want legislation in place by the time Obama takes office in January.
But for now, the markets are reacting positively. Wall Street is positioned to follow upbeat global investors encouraged by the news.
"It's what the financial community is interested in and I think they are very much looking to him now," said Stuart Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report.
In spite of the sober assessment, Obama also offered a sense of optimism, saying he believes that America will rise to meet the challenge and emerge leaner, stronger and more prosperous.