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Borger: Obama takes ownership of the economy

  • Story Highlights
  • President-elect Obama unveils economic team on Monday
  • Borger: "Not only is there a team, but there's a plan" to tackle the economy
  • Borger: Truth is, there's no time for the old, unproductive political games
  • Borger: Obama will take ownership of the economy and the huge task at hand
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By Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- At long last, a team. And it's formidable.

Gloria Borger says President-elect Obama has taken charge of turning around the economy.

With Tim Geithner eyed for the head of the Treasury Department, President-elect Barack Obama has chosen a fellow already knee-deep in the bailout, someone who gets what has gone right and is smart enough to understand what could go very wrong.

And in Larry Summers -- selected as director of the National Economic Council -- Obama has a seasoned Washington hand and brilliant economist who actually remembers what it's like to balance the budget. Imagine that.

Not only is there a team, but there's also a plan.

It's a stimulus package with a price tag that could total as much as $700 billion over the next two years. It's as much as Congress allowed for the Wall Street bailout, and more than we've spent in Iraq. The incoming administration is also sending clear signals that it could delay its promise to repeal President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy.

All of which are good signs. Video Watch: Obama names his economic team »

What we're seeing -- even before Obama is sworn in -- is a changing of the guard, so the new folks are ready to take charge on Day One.

Some Republicans have predictably begun to grumble about the size of the stimulus package, but here's a question: What would you in the GOP do differently? Would you continue the deregulation that got us into this mess? And didn't you folks break the bank over the last couple of years? Aren't even some of the most conservative economists now advising spending as a way to get ourselves out of this hole?

So, when House Minority Leader John Boehner gripes, as he did Sunday in a same-old, same-old refrain that "the American people know that more Washington spending isn't the answer," the logical response is: OK, what do you suggest? Obama has already suggested tax cuts for the middle class, so you can't start with that. Got anything better to offer?

Truth is, there's no time for the old (and unproductive) political games. If the opposition party is smart, it will sit down around the table Obama is setting and become a part of fixing America's problems. Video Watch: Economist slams Obama's economic team »

Standing on the sidelines and booing -- without offering constructive suggestions -- is going to be seen for what it is: political posturing of the very sort Americans voted against. Opposition is fine, even necessary, but it has to be rooted in ideas, not blind ideology.

It's very clear, from Monday's moves, that Obama intends to act quickly. There's no need to dethrone George W. Bush; he's essentially already irrelevant in this process.

Obama's plan is pretty clear: Push a stimulus package through Congress ASAP, and have it ready for the new president to sign on January 20. Obama has made its components pretty clear; a large jobs and public works program, money for green technology and, of course, those middle-class tax cuts.


By signing this measure on Day One, Obama will take ownership of the economy -- and the huge task at hand. If it doesn't work, it's his problem, and he gets that, too. It's called leadership.

After all, it's what the voters said they wanted.

All About Barack ObamaTimothy GeithnerU.S. National Economy

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