President-elect Barack Obama said the ongoing crisis didn't happen by accident or through a normal turn in the business cycle, but rather it was the outcome from an "era of profound irresponsibility." He said bold action must be taken to prevent a bad situation from becoming dramatically worse.

"It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe," Obama said at George Mason University on Thursday.

"Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy - where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending; where an inability to lend and borrow stops growth and leads to even less credit," he said.

Obama's recovery plan includes a $1,000 tax cut for the middle-class, as promised during the campaign, as well as infrastructure investments in energy, education and health care.

"The overwhelming majority of the jobs created will be in the private sector," Obama said, adding that he has plans to help public sector jobs as well.

"For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs," he said. "More families will lose their savings. More dreams will be deferred and denied. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse."

Obama said the goal of his recovery and reinvestment plan is not to create a slew of new government programs, but to build a foundation for long-term economic growth.

The president-elect assumes office in just 12 days.

By Patrick McGee and edited by Sarah Sussman
©CEP News Ltd. 2009