WASHINGTON — Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama made many promises to the American people. Msnbc.com has chosen 14 of these to explain, explore, and track. See if the new president keeps his word, and vote on his progress during the first 100 days.
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Obama’s words: “I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power and solar power and the next generation of bio-fuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.”
The issue: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,national unemployment was 7.2 percent for December, up from 4.9 percent last year.
The severity of this recession has prompted the Democratic-controlled Congress to prepare an $819 billion economic stimulus plan which to some extent incorporates President Barack Obama’s job-creation ideas. Many of these were central to the Democrat’s campaign for the White House.
They included a pledge to generate five million new, eco-friendly “green collar” jobs, and three to four million additional positions.
Following through: "We're putting Americans to work, doing the work America needs done," said Obama just moments before he signed the $787 billion stimulus bill.
The administration promises that the package will save or create some 3.5 million jobs over the next two years. During his address to a joint session of Congress in late February, Obama said "More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector — jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit."
Among the unknown factors in the months ahead which may affect Obama’s job creation promise: the severity of the crisis in the banking and credit system; the prospect of protectionist legislation which various countries might enact to guard their exports from foreign competitors; and the effect of anticipated income tax cuts in 2009 and tax increases in 2011, once current tax rates expire.
During an online town hall on March 26, Obama spoke at length about employment in the United States, saying, "We're going to have to be patient and persistent about job creation because I don't think that we've lost all the jobs we're going to lose in this recession."
Obama reiterated that the work of the future should be in more high-paying, high-skill areas like clean energy technology.
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