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Buffet warns Obama: U.S. economy only '40, 50 percent back'

Buffet warns Obama: U.S. economy only '40, 50 percent back'

U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday he received a warning from billionaire investor Warren Buffet, who told him the United States is only 40 to 50 percent recovered from its withering recession.
While the president acknowledged the slow recovery and the challenge of regaining millions of lost jobs, he stressed to NBC News that the economy has stabilized and that Americans were ready to seize on "enormous opportunities."
Obama was handed a major political victory Thursday when the U.S. Senate approved the most sweeping overhaul of Wall Street rules since the Great Depression, but a day earlier he huddled with Buffet in a low-key meeting at the White House, where he heard the investor's somber assessment.
"I'll tell you exactly what Warren Buffet said," Obama told NBC in an interview.
"He said we went through a wrenching recession, and so we have not fully recovered. We're about 40, 50 percent back. But we've still got a long way to go."
The reform bill is the latest in a series of major victories for Obama, which has included the massive stimulus plan to pull the country out of recession and a new health care bill.
But when asked why that has not translated to substantial political capital going into crucial congressional elections in November, Obama appeared unconcerned.
"I'm not frustrated, because we were in such a deep hole that, even if we got three quarters of the way up out of the hole, even if I know we're going in the right direction, people are still feeling things are tough," he told NBC.
"Americans don't have selective memory. They're going to remember the policies that got us into this mess as well. And they sure as heck don't want to go back to those."
Obama has long stressed that the U.S. economy was driven into a ditch during the administration of his predecessor George W. Bush.
"We had a disaster on our hands," he said. "We've been able to stabilize the economy and prevent the freefall. Instead of 750,000 jobs a month being lost, we've now gained jobs in the private sector for five consecutive months."
Obama said he was "confident that we are moving in the right direction," but that the White House was not yet satisfied.
"What we are absolutely convinced of, though, is that we're on the right track. And I think that the statistics bear that out."


Updated : 2021-07-24 01:13 GMT+08:00