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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Obama says economy improving but hard times ahead

President Obama said Tuesday that recent stimulus measures "are starting to generate signs of economic progress," but more tough times are ahead।

The White House described Obama's speech as a major address on the economy.

"The Recovery Act, the bank capitalization program, the housing plan, the strengthening of the nonbank credit market, the auto plan and our work at the [Group of 20 summit] have been necessary pieces of the recovery puzzle," Obama said in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington.

But economic improvements do "not mean that hard times are over -- 2009 will continue to be a difficult year for America's economy. ... The severity of this recession will cause more job loss, more foreclosures and more pain before it ends."

He also offered a fierce defense of government actions to prop up tottering banks and clean their books of toxic assets।

"Of course, there are some who argue that the government should stand back and simply let these banks fail -- especially since in many cases it was their bad decisions that helped create the crisis in the first place," he said. "The truth is that a dollar of capital in a bank can actually result in $8 or $10 of loans to families and businesses, a multiplier effect that can ultimately lead to a faster pace of economic growth."

CNN contributor and Republican strategist Ed Rollins said Tuesday that Obama needs to remind the country that economy is steadily moving forward। He also needs to provide encouragement, considering that Wednesday is tax day, Rollins said.

"A lot of people think about money and their own personal finances when you basically sign your name on that dotted line and send your tax dollars in, so to a certain extent it's a good time," he said.

The president has struck a more optimistic tone in recent days, saying Friday that he was starting to see "glimmers of hope in the economy," partly as a result of his administration's actions।

"I think there are a few glimmers of hope," Chrystia Freeland, the U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times, said Tuesday.

"There are some good signs, and also the stimulus is starting to work. That's a huge amount of money that the government is pumping into the economy. It has to have some impact, and it is. But I think it would be far too early to declare a victory," Freeland said.

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