Obama to announce new economic team

Obama to announce new economic team US President-elect Barack Obama, who takes over the President post from George W. Bush on January 20, is all set to unveil his economic team that will steer his economic policies and navigate a potentially deep recession. Except for one short news conference, Obama has kept a low public profile since his victory over Republican John McCain, remaining in Chicago to pick his Cabinet.

In a news conference on Monday, Obama will be announcing his key economic appointments, with financial markets watching for specifics about his plans to stimulate the economy and save jobs. Obama has laid the groundwork for a massive new two-year economic stimulus package, combining middle-class tax cuts and spending on infrastructure to help save 2.5 million jobs.

The new economic team will be charged with revitalizing the US economy, which is faltering badly amid the global downturn. Timothy Geithner, 47, the current chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is expected to be named as Obama’s treasury secretary, while Lawrence Summers - who was treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton - is expected to be named as head of the National Economic Council.

The scope of the economic crisis has widened in the 20 days since Obama’s White House win. Auto companies warned they were short on cash, unemployment numbers rose, and Citigroup took the US government on as a shareholder.

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, said: “The stakes are high. This is a really dangerous moment ... for the economy. It’s almost as if no one’s in control. Now people are looking to Obama to find out at least what’s going to happen in the next few months, if not the next few weeks.”