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Obama Faces Difficult Financial Choices

The next budget deficit is expected to be the largest ever.  Will there be enough money for the new president’s proposed programs? Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

Barack Obama defeated John McCain Tuesday in the longest and most costly presidential campaign in American history. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that the two candidates spent more than one billion dollars. Mister Obama alone is estimated to have raised about seven hundred million dollars from donors.

The election results were widely seen as a strong statement by voters on the economy. A public opinion study reported by the Wall Street Journal found that about sixty percent of voters considered the economy the top issue.

President-elect Obama faces the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of leading stocks has lost nearly thirty percent of its value this year.

In September, the government seized the nation's two largest home financing companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It also took control of the huge insurance company, A.I.G. And, the government is now a shareholder in nine of the country's largest banks. That will expand to smaller banks, too. The amount spent on these rescue plans has been close to one trillion dollars. That amount could increase.

Another problem facing the new administration is the record budget deficit. Some experts estimate the deficit for next year's budget could be close to one trillion dollars. Some observers predict that the deficit will restrict spending on economic programs the new president may want.

Barack Obama has promised a tax cut for middle income Americans. He is seeking fifty billion dollars in aid for states and job creation programs. Mister Obama has proposed a health care reform plan that costs fifty to sixty-five billion dollars. He says this will be paid for by ending tax cuts for people earning over two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year. Mister Obama is also seeking to spend one hundred fifty billion dollars on new energy technologies over the next ten years.

In addition, the president-elect has been discussing a program worth one hundred billion dollars. It includes spending on public works projects and aid to American states, cities and citizens.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. Transcripts and archives are at I'm Bob Doughty.