Obama advisor talks Virginia economy

Story by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

Virginia’s unemployment rate is still solid relative to the national rate, which is good news. But there’s bad news in the fact that our rate has climbed a full percentage point in the past year, and more expected job losses are looming later this summer.

Barack Obama’s chief economic advisor, Jason Furman, discussed the economic picture in the Old Dominion today and talked up how Obama’s economic plan would get things turning around in the right direction both in Virginia and across the U.S. economy.

The centerpiece of the Obama plan is a $50 billion stimulus plan that Furman said would provide immediate assistance to help individuals and families with their energy bills and create a home-foreclosure relief fund. The plan would pump $1.28 billion into Virginia to those ends, Furman said on a conference call with reporters in Virginia this morning.

Of interest is that Obama is not pushing this as an idea that should be implemented next year if and when he is elected president, but something that should be done in the here and now.

“Both the House and the Senate are actively working on stimulus plans, and it’s something that Sen. Obama believes should not be a partisan issue, believes should not be an issue for the next president to settle, but instead something we should come together this year and move forward,” Furman said.

Obama is also advocating measures to bring what Furman called “fairness” to the U.S. tax code that have as their jumping-off point a $500-per-worker and $1,000-per-family tax cut that would go to 4.1 million Virginians, about 95 percent of the state’s workforce. McCain’s tax proposals that focus on extending the George W. Bush tax cuts largely for upper-middle-class and wealthy Americans would impact only 30 percent of Virginia taxpayers, Furman said.


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