|Team Obama gives itself pat on the back for pulling bank from the brink
The US marked the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis with a new bid Sunday to claim credit for “bold'' emergency economic rescue measures it said worked better than anyone expected.
Officials also used the public relations push, including a 49-page report on the administration's response to the meltdown, as a political warning to Republicans of the “self-inflicted wound'' threatened by a new debt showdown.
President Barack Obama's top economic advisor Gene Sperling argued that the administration's difficult calls across the banking sector, auto industry and in housing and finance had stabilized the US economy, AFP reports.
“The president undertook a series of bold, unprecedented and politically difficult measures in 2009 that have performed better than virtually anyone at the time predicted,'' said Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.
The new economic crisis report touted Obama's speedy response to the crisis when he took office in January 2009, at a time when the economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month and the possibility of a depression loomed.
It said measures like the Troubled Asset Relief Program inherited from the Bush administration had stabilized the financial system while recouping the Treasury's investment and keeping credit and lending open.
The report argued that stress tests established for US banks by the Treasury had saved the banking system and were now a model for the rest of the world.
And the report also touted the US auto bailout, controversial at the time, which has seen GM and Chrysler emerge from bankruptcy and create 340,000 jobs since 2009, in a new period of prosperity for the iconic US industry.
Sunday's report was released as Obama seeks to turn the focus away from foreign policy – specifically Syria and Egypt – to the economy.
Obama warned Sunday he would not negotiate with Republicans seeking concessions in return for lifting the US$16.7 trillion US borrowing limit, without which the government will go into default.
“What I haven't been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling,'' Obama told ABC News.
Sperling added that it would not be responsible to risk progress made since the recession with a spell on the ``high wire'' of a threatened default.
“We came back from the brink, we avoided a second Great Depression – but we all agree that we have a lot further to go to get jobs growing, to get unemployment down to where we need it to be,'' Sperling said.
A confrontation is also looming between Obama and Republicans on the government's operating budget for the next fiscal year.