If there's a silver lining to the profound economic crisis President-elect Barack Obama is stepping into, the New York Times reports, it's that the recovery plan that's taking shape under his direction affords him an unprecedented chance to address his most ambitious campaign promises right out of the blocks. Riding a popularity surge, he has an opportunity few presidents have enjoyed: a bipartisan green light to spend more and cut taxes.
The $825 billion plan—which includes Obama pledges from green energy projects to electronic medical records to tax breaks for lower- and middle-income workers—is on a fast track through Congress, with hopes it can reach Obama’s desk by Feb. 13. It will advance "every one of his policy goals," says Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. And with an OK from Congress to spend the second half of a $700 billion bailout, Obama has an opportunity to press banks to renew moribund lending and will take action to help struggling homeowners.