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Obama ups jobs goal to 3 million on bad economic news

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Inaction could cost U.S. 4 million jobs, raise unemployment rate, aide says
  • President-elect challenged economic team to "think bolder," one official says
  • Stimulus plan would shun pork, include health care, education, energy proposals
  • Democratic leaders hope plan is ready on or very soon after Inauguration Day
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From Ed Henry
CNN
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama has decided to increase his goal for creating new jobs after receiving economic forecasts that suggest the economy is in worse shape than had been predicted, two Democratic officials told CNN.

Officials say President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus plan will include "oversight and transparency measures."

Officials say President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus plan will include "oversight and transparency measures."

The officials said Obama is increasing his goal from 2.5 million to 3 million jobs over the next two years after receiving projections early this week that suggest the recession will be deeper than expected.

The projections showed that unless significant action is taken, the nation is likely to lose up to 4 million jobs over the next year and that the unemployment rate will probably rise above 9 percent, a transition aide told CNN.

After hearing the projections, Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden "argued that we were being too timid and that we needed to develop a plan that would save or create at least 3 million jobs," the aide said.

One of the officials said Obama challenged his economic team to "think bolder" as some economists warn there is danger in the government doing too little to curb the recession.

They said the stimulus plan in the works in the Obama camp would have "oversight and transparency measures" to ensure spending on the plan would be focused on stimulating the economy and not devolve into just handing out congressional pork projects.

They said it also would include measures that will "lay a foundation for a stronger economy in the future" -- such as health care, education and energy spending. Video Watch what Obama has to say about the economy »

Other measures included weatherizing 1 million homes, saving the federal government $1 billion in energy costs, modernizing schools and doubling renewable energy production, among other initiatives, the transition aide said.

Obama also stressed to the team that it can't rely on "traditional Washington programs and politics" when drawing up the economic recovery package, the aide said. That means no earmarks, a use-it-or-lose-it policy for local funding, full transparency and "investing in what works," the aide added.

On Friday, Obama had repeated his original goal while announcing appointments to his Cabinet and economic team.

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"Together with the appointees that I have announced, these leaders will help craft a 21st-century economic plan with the goal of creating 2.5 million jobs and strengthening our economy," he said.

The Obama team isn't putting a price tag on its economic stimulus plan, which Democratic leaders want to have ready for the president-elect to sign either on or very soon after Inauguration Day. The transition aide told CNN that Obama aides met with Capitol Hill staff this week to discuss plans costing between $675 billion and $775 billion.

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