US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama says America is witnessing its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and blamed political wrangling for the worsening of the crisis.
“There is no doubt that we have gone through an extraordinary period in world history. We had the worst recession since the 1930s here in the United States,” Obama said in an interview with the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.
In 1930s, the Great Depression crippled the US with a decade-long unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation and myriads of lost opportunities for economic progress.
The incumbent US president attributed the current economic downturn in the United States partly to the sluggish global economy.
“The economy worldwide is still weak. And so that has added to the burdens of the office,” he noted.
According to the US Labor Department, the number of jobless people in the country hit 14,100,000 in June, showing an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent.
Obama also warned that the existing conflicts between Democrats and Republicans continue to aggravate the problems for the US economy.
“What’s happened is that right now we have divided government. I came in 2008 and I had a Democratic Congress, and although that was challenging, obviously we were all moving in the same direction,” he went on to say.
“In 2010, Republicans won control of the House of Representatives … that means that there are going to be conflicts and arguments and disputes,” the president added.
On Tuesday, Obama voted in favor of a controversial bipartisan plan to raise the debt ceiling of the United States in exchange for spending cuts, just hours before the first ever default in US history.
According to the new bill, the debt ceiling will be raised by $2.4 trillion, to reach a total of $16.7 trillion. The bill also includes a $2.1 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade.
The cuts could affect such entitlement programs of the country as Medicare, Social Security, and defense program.