For Obama, it be­gins and ends with jobs

Chicago Sun-Times - - News - LYNN SWEET

small banks in or­der to stim­u­late small busi­ness lend­ing and, in turn, spark hir­ing.

The Trou­bled As­set Re­lief Pro­gram was cre­ated un­der for­mer Pres­i­dent Bush as the econ­omy was crum­bling in 2008. Ir­re­spon­si­ble fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions that brought on the re­ces­sion with the sub­prime mort­gage cri­sis were deemed too big to fail. AIG, Cit­i­group and Gold­man Sachs were res­cued, and sto­ries about big bonus checks go­ing to ex­ec­u­tives in­fu­ri­ated the pub­lic — and frus­trated the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

There were no de­tails of­fered up on Wed­nes­day night on the TARP pro­pos­als. Ja­son Fur­man, deputy di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil, said they would be re­leased in the com­ing days. An­other ap­peal of send­ing out TARP money — that is, with a man­date to make small-busi­ness loans and not stash the cash — is that it can kick­start job cre­ation faster than tax cuts or cred­its.

Obama is also propos­ing a se­ries of tax in­cen­tives to bol­ster small busi­ness and help mid­dle class fam­i­lies — but most of them would not be ef­fec­tive in 2010.

On the po­lit­i­cal side, re­tool­ing TARP — redi­rect­ing the money from Wall Street to Main Street — also has pop­ulist ap­peal that may tamp down the anger that has con­trib­uted to Obama’s low fa­vor­a­bil­ity rat­ings and raised ques­tions about his abil­ity to de­liver change.

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