Obama wants to give hundreds of thousands of youth "the hope and dignity of a summer job next year." The unemployment rate for youth ages 16 to 24 rose to a record high this summer.
"Democrats and Republicans in this chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past. At this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again -- right away," Obama said.
President Obama urged Americans Saturday to push lawmakers to approve his multibillion-dollar “to-do list” for creating jobs. “Each of the ideas on this list will help create jobs and build a stronger economy right now,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. “Let’s push Congress to do the right thing. Let’s keep moving this country forward together.”
Obama is on track to boost a federal debt that stands at $10.7 trillion. Clearly mindful of that, Obama said: "We will need to do everything in the short term to get our economy moving again" as well as "begin restoring fiscal discipline and taming our exploding deficits over the long term."
"None of this will be easy," he said. "The road to recovery will not be straight. We will make progress, and there may be some slippage along the way." Still, he declared, "We have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time."
Obama summed it up in a speech at George Mason University on Thursday, "There is no doubt that the cost of this plan will be considerable. It will certainly add to the budget deficit in the short term. But equally certain are the consequences of doing too little or nothing at all."
Over the weekend, Obama officials announced that they would like Congress to direct 40 percent of the stimulus bill toward tax breaks aimed at businesses and middle-class workers. Most workers would receive a $500 payroll credit, and some businesses would "receive incentives to create jobs and make equipment purchases more affordable."
Obama said that his goal is to put together a plan that "not only creates jobs in the short-term but spurs economic growth and competitiveness in the long-term." The package will focus on providing assistance to low- and middle-income Americans, strengthening the nation's infrastructure, and investing in states that are struggling with falling revenues, with the goal of creating or preserving at least 3 million jobs over the next two years.
"I don't want to pretend this marks the end of our economic problem, nor does it represent all we are going to have to do," the president said. But Obama said the most sweeping economic recovery package in U.S. history would put the country back on track for economic growth.
Obama said the measure marked "the beginning of the first steps to set our economy on a firmer foundation." He said the plan will put Americans to work in jobs that will build the foundation for growth in the future, and that the plan is one phase of a broader plan to put the economy back on track.