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ECONOMICS REPORT - Obama Chooses Economic Team for 'Historic' Crisis

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This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

President-elect Barack Obama named the top members of his economic team in a series of announcements this week in Chicago, Illinois. His nominee for secretary of the Treasury is Tim Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the past five years. Mister Geithner has been working to rescue companies affected by the financial crisis. He has also worked as undersecretary of the Treasury Department for international affairs.

Barack Obama with two members of his team, Tim Geithner and Christina Romer
Barack Obama with two members of his team, Tim Geithner and Christina Romer

The top economic adviser in the White House will be Larry Summers. He was President Clinton's last Treasury secretary, at the same time that Tim Geithner was undersecretary. The former Harvard University president will lead the National Economic Council. That position does not require Senate approval.

But confirmation is required for the director of the Council of Economic Advisers. Mister Obama's choice to lead that group is Christina Romer. She is an economist and economic historian at the University of California, Berkeley.

The nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget in the White House is Peter Orszag, until now the director of the Congressional Budget Office.

And Mister Obama announced the creation of a President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Paul Volcker will lead the new board. He was Federal Reserve chairman during most of the nineteen eighties.

The president-elect is working with Democratic leaders in Congress on an economic recovery plan. Spending and tax cuts might cost five hundred billion dollars or more. But Mister Obama says: "We are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions."

The goal for the stimulus plan is to save or create two and one-half million jobs over a period of two years. Congressional leaders hope to have the plan ready for the new president to sign shortly after he takes office on January twentieth.

The government has already promised trillions of dollars in loans, guarantees and investments to rescue the economy. At the same time, Barack Obama says the government must cut wasteful spending from the three trillion dollar federal budget. As he promised during the campaign, he said he will direct his new budget team to go through the budget page by page and line by line.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. For the latest developments in the financial crisis, go to www.unsv.com. I'm Steve Ember.

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