Posted: 8 p.m. Eastern.
President Obama will launch a week of economic events on Monday, highlighting the five-year anniversary of the crashing of the financial market to argue that Republican policy prescriptions to looming fiscal battles would undo recent gains.
Looking back to the economic collapse of 2008, which helped propel him to the White House, Obama will argue the country has since been on a steady climb back to prosperity. The White House is hoping to use the week as leverage before an October deadline to keep the government funded and ahead of the nation reaching its borrowing capacity just weeks later.
Obama will hold an event in the Rose Garden Monday, joined by Americans he says have benefited from his administration’s economic fixes during the last five years. The president will meet with the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs and major U.S. companies, on Wednesday, his Export Council on Thursday and travel to a Kansas City Ford assembly plant Friday.
But Obama’s own economic team is overshadowing his clarion call on jobs. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers withdrew from consideration to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Sunday in the face of growing Democratic opposition to his possible selection. Summers was believed to be the president's top pick for the post.
Obama on Monday will simultaneously attempt to take Americans down memory lane, reminding them of the low point of a brutal recession five years ago, while insisting he won’t give in on Republican demands to negotiate an increase in the debt ceiling.
“It ranked with things like Pearl Harbor or 9/11,” Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling told reporters Sunday, previewing the Rose Garden event marking the financial crash. “We came back from the brink. We avoided a second Great Depression.”
Republicans say such rhetoric demonstrates yet another attempt by Obama to blame economic shortcomings on his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
In a report released by the White House Sunday, the administration touts an $800 billion stimulus bill, the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program and bailout of major American auto companies as measures that averted a crippling economic disaster.
“It was even a source of division within the Obama economic team,” Sperling said of the auto bailout. “But the president made the right and even politically difficult call.”
Yet, critics point out the recent bankruptcy of the city of Detroit — America’s primary auto producer — as proof the White House is exaggerating gains made under Obama’s watch. And just more than 63 percent of Americans now participate in the labor force, the lowest rate since 1978.
Sperling insisted the White House report was created not to argue, “that everything is perfect,” but to showcase progress and fend off Republican attempts to extract spending cuts in exchange for increasing the nation’s borrowing limit.
“The last thing we can afford right now,” he said, “is a decision from Congress to throw our economy back into crisis by refusing to pay our country’s bills or shutting down the government.”