Washington - On the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, US President Barack Obama said the Republican focus on budget tightening could widen income disparities in the country even as the economy climbed out of a debilitating recession.
Trying to lay claim to an economic turnaround, Obama acknowledged that despite progress, middle and low-income Americans had not benefited as much as the top 1 percent in the country.
“We came in, stabilised the situation,” he told ABC’s This Week in an interview broadcast on Sunday. He cited 42 months in a row of growth, 7.5 million jobs created and a revitalised motor industry.
“The banking system works. It is giving loans to companies who can get credit. And so we have seen, I think undoubtedly, progress across the board,” he said.
For Obama, the Lehman anniversary was an opportunity, after weeks devoted to the Syrian crisis, to confront public scepticism about his stewardship of the economy and to put down his marker for budget clashes with Congress in the weeks ahead. Lehman’s bankruptcy was the largest in US history.
Obama emphasised that when it came to a crucial deadline to raise the country’s borrowing limit next month, he would not negotiate with Republicans. They want to use the debt ceiling as leverage to cut spending further and to delay Obama’s signature health-care law.
The public is not convinced, though, that the economy is on the mend. Only one-third say the economic system is more secure now than in 2008, according to a Pew Research Center poll. – Sapa-AP