QUESTION: Do you have any shopping advice for nervous consumers? And are you planning to hit the malls yourself on Friday?
PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: Well, we are going to do some Christmas shopping and Malia and Sasha have already put their lists together. It’s mostly for Santa. They send their letter every year. But we may do some extra shopping as well.
I — look, I think families understandably are nervous and concerned about their economic situation. We’ve seen job loss. We’ve seen flat-lining wages and incomes. The economic statistics have been bad and people are watching television and understandably are nervous about their future.
There is no doubt that during tough economic times, family budgets are going to be pinched. I think it is important for the American people, though, to have confidence that we’ve gone through recessions before, we’ve gone through difficult times before; that my administration intends to get this economy back on track; that we are going to create 2.5 million jobs over the next two years; that our future is bright if we make good decisions.
And what we don’t want to do is get caught up in a spiral where people pull back from the economy, businesses then pull back, jobs are reduced, and we get into a downward spiral.
What we want to do is to be sober, to be clear, to recognize that we’ve got some real adjustments that have to be made. That’s true with — in individual businesses. It’s true in terms of individual family budgets. It’s also true for the economy as a whole.
But we continue to have the best workers in the world. We continue to have the most innovation in the world. We continue to be in possession of extraordinary resources that, if we harness properly, will get this economy moving over the next couple of years but also over the next two decades or three decades.
So people should — should understand that help is on the way. And as they think about this Thanksgiving shopping weekend, and as they think about the Christmas season that is coming up, I hope that everybody understands that — that we are going to be able to get through these difficult times, but we’re just going to have make some good choices.
That’s a lot of verbage to get to the punchline, that “help is on the way.” Then again, at least it’s more specific than, say, “hope is on the way.”
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